Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat remains in critical but stable condition at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, a spokesperson for the hospital said on Tuesday.

Erekat was rushed to the hospital on Sunday following a deterioration in his condition after he contracted COVID-19.

“Mr. Erekat, which has been hospitalized at the Hadassah Medical Center, was connected to an ECMO machine today,” the spokesperson said.

“This was done to support his lung function. Using this machine allows the blood to be oxygenated while allowing the lungs to rest and avoid ventilator associated lung injury, particularly of the transplanted lung.”

“He is now well-settled and stable on ECMO with excellent oxygenation - and on reduced mechanical ventilation which is not damaging to the lungs.”

“His care continues to be coordinated with lung transplant specialists in Israel and abroad to provide optimum care to this patient with complications of COVID-19 infection on the background of a previous lung transplant,” the spokesperson added.

Erekat is in a high-risk group after having previously contracted pulmonary fibrosis and having undergone a lung transplant in the United States in 2017.

A frequent critic of Israel, Erekat has in the past accused Israel of “war crimes”, “massacres”, and “genocide”.

In 2013, Erekat accused Israel of applying a policy of apartheid in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Despite his accusations of Israeli “genocide”, this is not the first time the senior PA official has sought treatment at an Israeli hospital.

In 2017, Erekat was spotted at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.