Photo courtesy of the Knesset
Martin Schulz at Knesset. It's not the criticism but the mixture of facts and ideological claims
Photo courtesy of the Knesset
Yoaz Hendel

Martin Schulz's harmful ignorance

Op-ed: Israel has been supplying the Palestinians with almost double the amount of water it committed to in 1995. The European Parliament president's unfamiliarity with the facts raises questions.

In the Middle East, water makes wars and peace. Water can heal and chill, water can also inflame a situation. The European Parliament president learned it from personal experience on Wednesday. "For want of a nail," says the proverb. In Schulz's case, it's for want of a big mistake.



Schulz arrived at the Knesset with good intentions and harmful ignorance. His claim that the Palestinians are being deprived of water is embarrassing. An allegory of Israel's difficulty with the Europeans. It's not the criticism but the mixture of facts and ideological claims.


The water agreement with the Palestinians was signed in 1995. It's possible to roughly say that they received the eastern side of the mountain aquifer (groundwater) and Israel received the western side. Israel committed to supplying 31 million cubic meters of water a year at the cost price, the Palestinians promised to pump according to the agreement.


The Oslo people realized that the water was important to both sides. They made sure to include fine print, but the fine print was not sure about itself. The agreement did not hold water. Since the signing, Israel has been supplying the Palestinians with 56 million cubic meters a year, almost double the agreed target. Most of it comes from the coastal plain area. Water to the Palestinians without a green line, without claims about an occupation.


The Palestinians, on their part, engaged in some digging in the Herodium area (where there is plenty of groundwater), but failed. It's hard to get water out of the ground independently; it's much easier to rely on the Israeli water authority. They asked for more, Israel delivered. Instead of extracting water in the south, they dug 200 wells illegally in northern Samaria. What is dug in one place affects another place. The abundance of water in the Maayanot Valley near Beit Shean has been reduced.


The water is a convenient excuse, man's basic right. Radical leftist organizations alongside Palestinian organizations have created an entire system of false claims.


After Israel has been accused of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocide, the water theft claims popped up too. The European Parliament president had someone to rely on. But the reality is the other way around. Schulz claimed in his speech that a Palestinian gets 17 liters a day compared to an Israeli who enjoys 70 liters, yet official Palestinian Authority figures note that it's actually 103 liters a day.


The State of Israel connected 95% of the Palestinian Authority to a regular water supply network – a rate higher than most of the world's countries. The infrastructures are made in Israel, the water is made in Israel, and the claims are flowing our way too.


Schulz sees himself as an Israel supporter. His arguments over the policy in Judea and Samaria are legitimate, but his unfamiliarity with the facts raises questions.


פרסום ראשון: 02.14.14, 00:12
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