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!
  • The rose petals have settled, and Andi has made her (Jewish?) choice. We look back on the #Bachelorette finale:
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • 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.