A PLO Leader Enjoys the Lifesaving Medical Treatment He Would Deny His Fellow Palestinians

Oct. 22 2020

For three decades, Saeb Erekat—now secretary general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—has served as the public face of the Palestinian cause and as Yasir Arafat’s chief negotiator. His frequent attempts to libel Israel, most notably with the canard that a pitched battle between the IDF and Palestinian soldiers in Jenin was a massacre of civilians, have had a particular staying power. Now he is being kept alive by an Israeli medical team. David Horovitz writes:

Infuriated by Benjamin Netanyahu’s annexation plans, the Palestinian leadership has severed most dealings with Israel, to the direct detriment of its people, notably refusing to accept the tax revenues that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) for Palestinian imports and exports. Most relevantly in Erekat’s case, the PA has canceled the arrangements by which Palestinians needing medical treatment not available in PA areas can be transferred to Israeli hospitals. These measures have not been reversed even though annexation is now indefinitely off the table; Israel and the UN, however, have formulated a mechanism, outflanking the PA, by which Palestinian patients are again being transferred to Israeli hospitals.

As I write, Saeb Erekat, sixty-five, is on life support at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem, suffering from COVID-19. Treating him, the hospital has said, is extremely complicated because he has a history of medical problems, including undergoing a lung transplant in 2017. The hospital said it has been reaching out to international experts for input.

There’s a whole world of tragedies, hypocrisies, ironies and, potentially, lessons in this story—about what genuine coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians could achieve. . . . What is certain is that a leading hospital in the state of Israel is doing everything in its power to give him that opportunity. Of course it is.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Coronavirus, PLO, Saeb Erekat


On Thanksgiving, Remember the Exodus from Egypt

Nov. 27 2020

When asked to design a Great Seal of the United States, Benjamin Franklin proposed a depiction of Moses at the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, while Thomas Jefferson suggested the children of Israel in the wilderness after departing Egypt. These proposals, writes Ed Simon, tapped into a venerable American tradition:

The Puritans from whom Franklin descended had been comparing their own arrival in the New World with the story of Exodus for more than a century. They were inheritors of a profoundly Judaic vision, melding the stories of the Hebrew scripture with their own narratives and experiences. . . .

For the Puritans, Exodus was arguably a model for understanding their own lives and history in a manner more all-encompassing and totalizing than for any other historical religious group, with the obvious exception of the Jews. . . . American Puritans and pilgrims like John Mather, John Winthrop, John Cotton, . . . and many others placed the Exodus at the center of their vision, seeing their own fleeing from an oppressive England and a Europe wracked by the Thirty Years’ War to an American “Errand Into the Wilderness” as a modern version of the Israelites’ escape into Canaan. . . . [Thus the] Exodus . . . has become indispensable in comprehending the wider American experience. Through the Puritans, the story of Exodus became a motivating script for all manner of American stories. . . .

We read its significance and prophetic power in accounts of slaves who escaped the cruelty of antebellum plantation servitude, and who crossed the Ohio River as if it were the Sea of Reeds. . . . We see it in photographs of the oppressed escaping pogroms and persecution in the Old World, and in the stories of later generations of refugees. Exodus is an indispensably Jewish story, but what more appropriate day than Thanksgiving, this most American and Puritan (and “Jewish”?) of holidays, to consider the role that that particular biblical narrative has had in defining America’s civil religion?

Read more at Tablet

More about: American founding, American Religion, Exodus, History & Ideas, Thanksgiving, Thomas Jefferson