Palestinians in Gaza speak of life under Israeli occupation.
An Inuit community fights to save its way of life
13 Feb 2014 17:46 GMT | Politics, Middle East, Israel
Comments made by the president of the European Parliament, in which he criticised Israeli settlements and implied that Israelis receive four times more water than Palestinians, has stoked anger in Israel.
The speech, made by German Martin Schulz on Wednesday, prompted the far-right Jewish Home party to storm out of the parliament and the spat made the front pages of Israel's main newspapers.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned against Germans criticising his country, in reference to the European country's Nazi past.
"I am not prepared to accept a situation in which someone stands up in the heart of the Israeli Knesset and delivers a speech - in German, to boot - and tells lies about Israel," Bennett, a member of the Jewish Home party, told Israel Radio.
"I say, unequivocally, that someone speaking in German should be even more careful about saying things critical of the State of Israel. I have that expectation."
A European Union source who declined to be named said it was hard to find a more pro-Israeli politician in Europe than Schulz, and that he was "shaken" by a controversy that had overshadowed what was meant to be a positive message.
It was Schulz's remarks on water allocation that were the most provocative.
"How can it be that an Israeli is allowed to use 70 litres of water per day, but a Palestinian only 17?" Schulz asked.
The municipal water consumption per capita per day in Israel in 2011 was 250 litres, while among Palestinians in the West Bank ... it was 70 litres.
Friends of the Earth Middle East
But he also admitted he had not had time to verify the numbers.
Shortly afterwards, Schulz criticised settlements as an obstacle to peace and warned that the Gaza blockade could "undermine, rather than strengthen, Israel's security".
Bennett denounced Schulz's remarks as being "deceitful propaganda".
Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waded in, accusing Schulz of being quick to cast blame without checking the facts.
"What was disturbing in Schulz's speech was the selective hearing that is becoming prevalent in many circles in Europe," he said in remarks published on the parliament's website.
"These are figures which are not true. [Schulz] said he didn't check the figures but it didn't stop him from straight away casting blame."
In an interview with German daily Die Welt published on Thursday, Schulz said he was taken aback by the tirade.
"The angry reaction from some parliamentarians in Jerusalem surprised me and made me concerned," he said, adding that he considered his Jerusalem address to be "pro-Israel".
"The people who disturbed my speech belong to a party of hardliners who answer each critical word that bothers them in this way."
The headline in the Israel HaYom freesheet, which is close to Netanyahu, read: "Shock in parliament over slander of Israel."
Other papers published figures showing a completely different picture of Israeli-Palestinian water usage.
The spat prompted several NGOs to publish their own figures on water usage, with Friends of the Earth Middle East citing statistics from 2011 showing the ratio was close to four to one.
"The municipal water consumption per capita per day in Israel in 2011 was 250 litres, while among Palestinians in the West Bank, after taking into consideration an average loss of approximately 30 percent of the water - due to theft and lack of infrastructure - it was 70 litres," the group said.
Israeli rights group B'Tselem also said there was "discrimination in water allocation", with Israelis receiving "much more water than Palestinian residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip".
According to the Israeli national water company, Mekorot, the average household water consumption in Israel is between 100 and 230 litres per person per day.
For Palestinians in the West Bank connected to the water mains, the average daily consumption is about 73 litres.
Those not connected to the network - around 113,000 people - rely on stored rainwater and water sold from tanker trucks, which is very expensive.
Typically, they consume less than 60 litres per person per day with shepherding communities in the northern Jordan Valley consuming just 20 litres, the group said.
Average consumption in Gaza is 70-90 litres per person daily, but the water quality is extremely poor, with 90 percent of supplies pumped there unpotable, according to World Health Organisation standards.
Palestinian farmers say Israel is cutting Jordan Valley water sources, forcing them to leave their land.
Politics, Environment, Middle East, Israel
Life is becoming harder for farming communities as Israeli settlements reduce access to water.
Middle East, Israel
Content on this website is for general information purposes only. Your comments
are provided by your own free will and you take sole responsibility for any direct
or indirect liability. You hereby provide us with an irrevocable, unlimited, and
global license for no consideration to use, reuse, delete or publish comments, in
accordance with Community Rules & Guidelines and Terms and Conditions.
Arrests and jail time have failed to dissuade many of the country's artists from speaking out for democratic change.
Human Rights, Arts & Culture, Cuba
Fed up young people using social media have galvanised Guatemalans angry at corruption - and helped oust a president.
Corruption, Politics, Guatemala
Accusations of black magic causing disease and death have led to dozens of deaths during mob attacks in Assam state.
Human Rights, India, Asia
Execution-style killings by hooded gunmen put the spotlight on possible revenge-seeking police gone rogue.
Human Rights, Brazil, Latin America
Austria and Germany cite "emergency situation" as they open their borders to refugees who had been stranded in Hungary.
Humanitarian crises, Europe, Refugees, Hungary
Ruling Islamist party dominates urban areas, but lost out in total seats to Party of Authenticity and Modernity.
Politics, Morocco, Middle East
101 East meets Western Australia's indigenous communities who are facing eviction from their ancestral lands.
Asia Pacific, Australia, Abuse
After days on a crowded boat crossing the Mediterranean, one Syrian refugee family strives for a new future in Austria.
War & Conflict, Syria, Immigration
We investigate allegations that despite its new democratic institutions, police torture continues in Tunisia.
Human Rights, Middle East, Tunisia
How an Inuit community on the north coast of Greenland is pulling together to save their village and way of life.
Environment, Greenland, Climate Change