JERUSALEM - Chief Palestinian negotiation Saeb Erakat is critically ill in an Israeli hospital.
The official was rushed to Hadassah Medical center in Jerusalem earlier this week after complications developed following his diagnosis of Covid-19 earlier this month.
On Monday, he was sedated and intubated as his condition worsened. According to the hospital, at press time he was in critical but stable condition, The Jerusalem Post said in a report.
On Monday, according to a separate 'Post report, the hospital issued a statement reporting that Erekat, 65, was "ventilated on high concentration of oxygen and on nitric oxide gas and is in the prone position. He has received concentrated convalescent plasma with high levels of anti-Covid antibodies."
The reaction from the Israeli public has been extraordinarily negative, with many demanding that the state let him die.
'Social media platforms erupted with many Israelis calling out in a stream of ugly rhetoric against Hadassah for treating him and even demanding that the state let him die,' The Jerusalem Post reported.
The controversy has arisen during a high-level ministerial delegation's visit to Israel from the UAE, and just weeks after two Arab states, the UAE and Bahrain formalised diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
'Several lawmakers condemned Defense Minister Benny Gantz for sanctioning Erekat's treatment without demanding that Israel receive something in return,' said The Jerusalem Post report.
Centrist MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh, a member of Gantz's Blue and White Party, said the country could treat him "but only if it received concessions from the Palestinians" through a policy of "humanitarian aid in return for humanitarian gestures."
Likud MK Ariel Kallner tweeted that, "If the Palestinians had invested more in their healthcare system instead of terrorism," Erekat could have been treated there. "The fact that we give him treatment "is not a sign of morality," Rather, he said, "it shows weakness."
Dozens of Israelis from across the political spectrum protested outside the hospital with signs that read, "let him die."
The 'Post listed the story as an opinion-piece supporting Erakat's treatment:
"Should Israel be a state that denies medical treatment? How can it do so if the Jewish state is meant to be a light unto the nations?"
"The Jewish people are supposed to place pikuach nefesh saving a life over all else," the report said
"And, in a time of dwindling solidarity and mistrust between sectors, treating one of the country's foremost enemies should serve as a reminder to the public of what is possible when it comes to social responsibility. If Israeli doctors can treat Erekat, then how much more so should Israelis treat one another with a minimal amount of respect."
"Israeli medical teams for decades have been providing humanitarian assistance to countries with the greatest needs in Asia, Africa, Europe or Iraq and in the West Bank and Gaza," said the 'Post report.
"During the first and second intifadas and the subsequent Gaza wars, Jewish and Muslim doctors left their politics at the door and entered the country's busiest emergency rooms to treat both terrorists and victims alike."
"During the Syrian Civil War, badly injured Syrians were carried across the border into Israel to be treated at Israeli field hospitals," The Jerusalem Post report said.
However the newspaper's readers were having none of it. Comments from readers were overwhelmingly against Erakat receiving treatment.
"There is no good way to handle this. If Israel refused to treat Erekat, Palestinians would go around the globe and tell everyone who would and wouldn't listen about that. If Erekat dies while being treated in Israel, Palestinians will certainly claim that he was deliberately murdered. Even if he dies few months later, they will still claim that something was planted in his body in the Israeli hospital so that he could be killed later. And if everything goes well, Palestinians will claim that Israel treated him to divert attention from its cruel treatment of Palestinians," one reader wrote.
"How could so much time, enregy and medical resources be spent of this enemy of the land of Israel ? Let his friends take care of him and see what the result of that will be...," said another.
"I understand then that hitler himself would have received the treatment. And eichmann would have not been executed, but offered a retirement in the Israeli country club (aka the Israeli prisn'). Leftism in Israel is a ds that's spreading dangerously."
"Judaism is not naive. The complex question the author conviniently avoids is: since we all agree that life is holy, how many people will be saved if Erakat's life is not saved?" another reader asked.
Following are more comments/reactions from the 'Post story by the newspaper's readers:
"Aside from the question of whether or not Israel was correct to treat Erekat, Judaism is not about aiding and abetting your enemy and certainly not about making it a priority to restore him to health."
"Consider this fact. If a Palestinian terrorist carried out a terror attack at Hadassah Medical Center, he/she would be considered a hero by the PA and if they survived to serve time in prison, they would receive payments from the PA for life. If they didn't survive, their family members would receive payments from the PA. That's what Erakat has supported for all of these years."
"This is a lose-lose situation. If Erekat recovers fully, he will continue to bad-mouth Israel and complain about the poor care he was given solely because he's a Palestinian. If he dies or develops secondary conditions, then Israel poisoned him or neglected his care. There's no way this ends well."
"The primary error was not telling the PA to again take him to Amman. Unfortunately, once he is here we have no choice but to treat him. Either way, Israel will be blamed. If he would die, the accusations of murder would be rampant; if he recovers, we will still be accused of murdering innocents. This is a lose - lose circumstance that Israel should not have accepted."
"typical jpost to tell us that saving erekat's life is part of being jewish, all of a sudden they became religious! thanks for the laugh!"
"Should Israel be a state that denies medical treatment? Ans: YES! To those who have Jewish blood on their hands. How can it do so if the Jewish state is meant to be a light unto the nations? Ans: Turn off the lights!"
"Just imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. Do you think an ambulance with an Israeli minister would ever make it to the hospital?"
"would he be missed is he died? I doubt it."
"Think about it like this. Every Israeli pays into the system by way of the health tax and they take out as well by way of health services. On the most basic level he is taking from the system without paying into it. That is before we even discuss that he is our enemy. At the very least he should be paying for the treatment. It's no different than if you need care in another country."
"Have we forgotten that this man is an inciter to Jew-murder and regularly praises murderers of Israelis and Jews? This article is nuts. Morality should not equal stupidity."
"When Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah becomes ill he will know where to go for help"
"A True Jewish State: Saving a palestinian became more importantant than saving Jews."
"The Jewish people are supposed to place pikuach nefesh saving a life over all else." Sure... "pikuach nefesh" was the principle cited by the Rabin government to justify the Oslo Accords and "land for peace". It led directly to the murder of 1500 Israelis, in cold blood. The Left didn't learn its lesson then and it hasn't learned its lesson since, and then it wonders why it lost and continues to lose in the court of public opinion."
"Israel doesn't owe anything to this terrorist. He should be sent back to Arabia where he belongs"
"Pathetic. Ignorant of Jewish law and ethics. Being merciful to the cruel enemy is not a Jewish idea.You have the wrong religion"
"I agree with what you wrote in the article a Jerusalem hospital should serve as a reminder of what it means to be a Jewish state. Therefore they should kill him"
(Photo credit: Issam Rimawi | Anadolu Agency).