Hospital: Palestinian official Erekat in critical condition

In this Oct. 28, 2019 file photo, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks at the J Street National Conference, in Washington. Erekat on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, was in critical condition and breathing with a ventilator after his coronavirus infection worsened overnight, said the Israeli hospital treating him. (AP)
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Updated 19 October 2020

Hospital: Palestinian official Erekat in critical condition

  • Erekat on Monday was in critical condition and breathing with a ventilator after his coronavirus infection worsened
  • Erekat has been one of the Palestinians’ most recognizable faces over the past 30 years

JERUSALEM: Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat on Monday was in critical condition and breathing with a ventilator after his coronavirus infection worsened overnight, said the Israeli hospital treating him.
Hadassah Medical Center described Erekat’s case as extremely challenging given his history of health problems, including a lung transplant performed in the United States three years ago. It said he suffered from a weak immune system and a bacterial infection in addition to COVID-19.
It said Erekat, 65, was sedated and that its most senior doctors were consulting with international experts on how best to manage such a complicated case.
Erekat has been one of the Palestinians’ most recognizable faces over the past 30 years, serving as their senior negotiator during on-again off-again peace talks. He also was a top aide to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the current Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. A fluent English speaker, the Western-educated Erekat also makes frequent appearances in the media.
Erekat was transferred to Hadassah on Sunday at the request of the Palestinian Authority, despite the Palestinians’ decision this year to sever ties with Israel. The Palestinians cut off ties to protest Israel’s pledge to begin annexing occupied West Bank land as part of President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since frozen the annexation plan.


Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu says he will visit Bahrain soon

Updated 7 min 12 sec ago

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu says he will visit Bahrain soon

  • ‘We are both excited to bring the fruits of peace to our people and countries in such a short time’

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would visit Bahrain “soon” at the invitation of the Gulf state’s Crown Prince Salman Al-Khalifa.
Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel in a deal brokered by the United States that marked a strategic Middle East alignment against Iran. The shift has enraged the Palestinians who have demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.
“We are both excited to bring the fruits of peace to our people and countries in such a short time. That’s why he (Al-Khalifa) invited me to come soon for a formal visit in Bahrain and I will do this happily,” Netanyahu said in a statement about a phone call he held with the crown prince.
A first Bahraini delegation visited Israel last Wednesday.
Since September, the Trump administration has brokered agreements with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan toward normalizing their relations with Israel. An Israeli delegation traveled to Sudan on Monday.
Although White House officials have said more countries are considering normalizing ties with Israel, further developments appear unlikely before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20 and establishes his administration’s policy on Iran.
Biden has said he would rejoin the nuclear accord that world powers signed with Iran if it first resumed strict compliance with the deal, and would work with allies to strengthen its terms.