Report: Israeli Doctor Brought Abbas Back From Brink of Death

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

If Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas is walking around today, it is thanks to an Israeli doctor who literally saved his life, Yediot Acharonot reported Wednesday. Abbas, who was close to death last May, was treated by an Israeli specialist in his hospital bed in Ramallah, and barely a week later was out of the hospital.

According to the report, Abbas’s health had been deteriorating for months, until last May 20th, when he was hospitalized for treatment of a severe ear infection. Once there, however, serious complications set in. The PA put out an emergency call for medical help – privately.

In public, the PA said that Abbas was undergoing “routine treatment,” but while in the hospital, Abbas was on a respirator, and was not responding to treatment. Several international medical experts arrived to help, but were unable to revive him. Israel, which found out about the situation, offered to bring Abbas secretly to an Israeli hospital, but the PA, while “very appreciative” of the offer, the report said, “politely” turned it down.

That led to Israel’s Plan B – with a top Israeli medical expert dispatched to Ramallah to treat Abbas. After two days, Abbas began responding to the treatment – and eight days later, he was deemed well enough to leave the hospital. Abbas has been taking it easier in recent months, the report said, but he is able to meet people and even travel.

PA sources have not commented on the report. Israeli analysts told Yediot Acharonot that Israel had a strong interest in ensuring that Abbas remains head of the PA as long as possible, as it is likely that Hamas will take over if he disappears from the scene, unless he is able to promote a replacement – something that has not happened yet.