Saeb Erekat, top PLO official who accused Israel of apartheid, dies of corona in Israeli hospital

While he spent a lifetime vilifying Israel, Erekat was quick to take advantage of the Jewish State’s advanced medical care.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Palestinian senior official Saeb Erekat died from Covid-19 on Tuesday at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. Erekat served as PLO Secretary-General and chief negotiator.

Erekat, 65, has been one of the Palestinians’ most recognizable faces over the past several decades, serving as a senior negotiator in talks with Israel and making frequent media appearances. He was also a senior adviser to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, and current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Erekat was transferred to Hadassah hospital from the Palestinian Authority on October 18. The hospital said at the time that his condition was “critical but stable.”

Erekat’s case was complicated given his history of health issues, including a lung transplant in the U.S. in 2017.

Erekat was transferred to Hadassah despite the Palestinian leadership’s decision earlier this year to sever ties with Israel over plans to apply sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria. Israel has since frozen that plan.

The senior Palestinian official was “receiving top-notch professional care like all serious corona patients at Hadassah,” hospital director Zeev Rothstein said at the time.

It is common for Palestinian leaders to seek medical care in Israel, despite accusing Israel of a litany of crimes. (Israeli surgeons reportedly operated on Abbas, his wife and his brother-in-law.) Erekat himself has been behind some of the most vicious fabrications against the Jewish State, including charges of apartheid and, most recently, that Israeli troops were purposefully infecting Palestinians with coronavirus.

Erekat is generally credited with spreading the lie in 2002 that became known as the “Jenin massacre,” in which he falsely accused Israel of killing 500 Palestinians. No evidence of such a massacre was ever found. Palestinian propaganda continues to spread the calumny to this day.

David Weinberg, vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, upon hearing of Erekat’s transfer to Hadassah last month, said, “And here is one more bitter, ugly irony from the propaganda shop of Saeb Erekat. When he got deathly sick this week, Erekat knew how to make a run for the best medical care Israel can offer. But he has cynically and cruelly denied that opportunity to his own people.”

AP contributed to this report.