Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, who is being treated at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem for COVID-19, underwent a bronchoscopy on Wednesday to examine the condition of his respiratory system, his daughter said.
As Erekat receives top medical care in Israel, like many other issues, it has been a source of controversy among the Israeli public, with some supporting it as an expression of Israel’s morality and focus on the sanctity of life and others slamming it as completely immoral.
Dr. Adva Biton, the mother of Adelle Biton, who was murdered at the age of four in a terror rock-throwing attack near Ariel in 2013, slammed the move, quoting the Midrash: “Those who are merciful to the cruel in the end will be cruel to the merciful.”
Biton pointed out that Israel transfers money to the PA, which instead of using it for medical care funnels it into terror activities against Israelis. “A person who encourages terrorism, a person who is a member of a terrorist organization is entitled to medical treatment in our country?” she wrote. “At my expense? The money that is being spent is coming from the pockets of Israeli citizens. I don’t want to pay for Erekat’s treatment.”
Other bereaved family members, accompanied by members of the Im Tirtzu organization and the Choose Life Forum, demonstrated outside Hadassah this week, protesting Erekat’s treatment, Arutz Sheva reported.
“Funding medical treatment for those who justify murdering Jews and acting against Israel and the Jewish people is a spit in the face of the citizens of Israel,” said Devorah Gonen, mother of Danny, who was murdered in a terror attack in Binyamin in 2015 at the age of 25. Gonen also quoted the same Midrash as Biton about having mercy on the cruel.
A number of Israeli politicians also condemned Erakat’s treatment in Israel. “On numerous occasions, Erekat has openly expressed full support for Hamas who call to destroy us,” Likud MK Amit Halevi stated. Fellow Likud MK Ariel Kallner added that Israel’s medical treatment of “one who hates Israel isn’t a sign of its superior morality. It’s the opposite.”
MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh (Blue and White) said that Israel shouldn’t be treating Erakat as long as four Israelis, two deceased IDF soldiers and two living civilians are being held captive in Gaza. “The foundational principle of reciprocity demands: humanitarian for humanitarian! Medical aid must be reciprocated with the return of Hadar [Goldin], Oren [Shaul], Avrah [Mengistu] and Hissam [Mengistu], who have been held in Gaza for over six years, in a clear violation of international law and moral codes.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan stated: “How ironic and hypocritical is the fact that Erekat, a senior Fatah official, is willing to receive treatment in an Israeli hospital when he and his party support BDS and spread libel that Israel deliberately infected Palestinians with COVID-19. Palestinian hypocrisy at its best versus Israeli’s [focus on] sanctity of life.”
Erdan was referring to Erekat’s claim in March that Israelis are “spitting on Palestinian cars and property in order to transmit the coronavirus” because they have a “uncontrollable desire to get rid of the Palestinian people in any way.”
“If Erekat really believed his own libel that Israelis ‘have an uncontrollable desire to get rid of the Palestinian people,’ he certainly wouldn’t have chosen Hadassah Hospital to treat him and attempt to save his life,” said Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch.
Several commentators also asked why the PA didn’t turn to their “brothers” in neighboring Arab countries for medical treatment for Erekat.
Salam Erekat tweeted that her father is ventilated and connected to an ECMO machine and it will take a few days to get the results of the bronchoscopy. “Hopefully things will get better. Pray for my father.”
Erekat was evacuated from his home in Yericho to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Hadassah stated that he is in critical but stable condition and that its medical team is consulting with medical professionals around the world regarding his care.
In 2015, Erekat paid a condolence visit to the family of a terrorist, a member of PA intelligence, who carried out a shooting attack on soldiers. In 2010, he wrote a letter of praise for Ahmad Sadaat, the terrorist who planned the murder of former MK Rechaven Ze’evi, H’yd, according to a report by Arutz Sheva.
Erekat was one of the main architects of the Olso peace accords and has been the PLO’s chief negotiator since 1995 and is still considered the most senior figure in Palestinian negotiations with Israel, especially to the international arena. He serves as a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and in the past served as an adviser to Abbas’ predecessor Yasser Arafat.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)