European Union Leader Lands in Israel Hot Water — Over Water Claim

Far Right Wing Walks Out on President Martin Schulz

By Reuters

Published February 12, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The visiting president of the European parliament landed in hot water in Israel on Wednesday, drawing a public rebuke from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over an address to the Israeli legislature.

Martin Schulz, a German who spoke to the Knesset in his native language, sparked a walk-out by several far-right lawmakers when he cited what he described as unverified data alleging Israel was denying Palestinians a fair share of water in the occupied West Bank.

He said a “Palestinian youth” had asked him why Israelis received four times as much water per capita as Palestinians.

“I haven’t checked the data,” Schulz said in the speech. “I’m asking you if this is correct.”

Legislators from the Jewish Home party, which advocates annexing parts of the West Bank, stormed out, and one shouted “shame on you” at Schulz.

Netanyahu entered the fray minutes later, in a separate parliamentary debate after Schulz’s speech.

He said that according to Israel’s own statistics and data it received from the Palestinian Authority, the water disparity cited by Schulz was incorrect and significantly smaller, although the Israeli leader did not give any precise numbers.

“Now, the European parliament president said honestly, ‘I haven’t checked it’ - but that didn’t stop him from repeating (the figures) and making an accusation,” Netanyahu said.

Such behaviour, he said, reflected a general trend to “tarnish Israel” over its policies without checking the facts.

Israel’s B’Tselem group, which monitors human rights in the West Bank, said last month per capita water use in Israel is three and a half times higher than in the West Bank, a ratio close to the one mentioned by Schulz.

A United Nations report released in December 2012 said Israelis living in settlements in the occupied West Bank consumed approximately six times the water used by Palestinians living in the same territory.

Netanyahu also suggested Schulz had a skewed view of events in Iran, whose agreement with world powers to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for an easing of sanctions is seen by the Israeli leader as an attempt to gain time to develop atomic weapons capability.

“Again, the president of the European parliament said that ‘until recently’ - that’s what he said - cries of ‘Death to Israel’ were heard in Tehran,” Netanyahu said.

“‘Until recently’ - that means that we don’t hear that now. But we hear the calls of ‘Death to Israel’ every day, or every two days from Iran’s leaders…”

Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear armed power, demands that Tehran dismantle all of its uranium-enriching centrifuges and describes Iran as an existential threat. Iran denies it is seeking atomic weapons.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.