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Calls to stop Saeb Erekat having Israeli lung transplant

The Palestinian chief peace negotiator is currently awaiting a life-saving operation in an Israeli hospital.

    The Palestinian chief peace negotiator should not receive a lung transplant from an Israeli donor, according to right wing activists.

    Mr Erekat, who is suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, is currently being treated in an Israeli hospital after his situation significantly deteriorated in recent months. Doctors say that his condition will only improve with a lung transplant.

    But his health concerns have become a political hot potato in Israel, with critics writing to the Health Ministry to insist that he be taken off the waiting list for a donated organ.

    The operation is due to take place in either America or Israel. But Shurat Hadin (the Israel Law Centre) has described his application for an Israeli lung as “outrageous”. Backed by 50 IDF soldiers and reservists, the legal human rights organisation has written to health authorities insisting that, because of his antagonism towards Israel, Mr Erekat is blocked from receiving a donor lung from Israel.

    It wrote to the Health Ministry’s National Transplant Centre claiming that it would be “illogical” for the “State of Israel or its citizens to give life to a person who acts systematically to mortally harm it”. Shurat Hadin said that even though transplants in Israel are reserved for citizens, it is concerned that an exception could be made for Mr Erekat. 

    Nitzana Darshan Leitner, chair of Shurat Din, wrote: "It is inconceivable that anyone who calls for to boycott the State of Israel, initiates propaganda for sanctions against it, and leads the BDS movement to isolate and harm the State of Israel, now seeks the assistance of that same State of Israel when he needs it. Those who choose to boycott the State of Israel have enough self-respect to boycott all the services of the State of Israel."

    The letter brought further reassurances from heath authorities that Mr Erekat is not poised to receive a donor lung, but Avi Guez, lawyer for Shurat Hadin, still has “concerns” that Mr Erekat could end up getting special provisions. 

    Politicians have voiced concerns about the possibility of a transplant. Government whip David Bitan said in a radio interview: “I am for humanitarian aid, but there is a problem with lung transplants. We can barely manage lung transplants for the citizens of the State of Israel.”

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