Meretz MK Defends 'Anti-Israel' Comments by EU Parliament Head
While nationalist MKs expressed anger over statements by EU Parliament President Martin Schulz during his Knesset address earlier today, MK Nitzan Horowitz of the far-left Meretz party was quick to jump to his defense, and to attack Jewish Home party members for walking out of the speech in protest.
Schulz roiled many MKs when he accused Israel of discriminating against Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria when allocating water resources, and of imposing a "siege" on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip - accusations slammed as "lies" by Israeli officials.
"The president of the European parliament, a son of the German nation, is unashamed to quote lies he heard yesterday in Ramallah," MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home) fired in response.
Jewish Home head, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, also attacked Schulz's "lies", and said he expected him to apologize for the comments.
But Horowitz took to the podium later in the afternoon to launch a fierce defense of Schulz's statements. He dismissed accusations the top EU official had lied, and said that if anything, he had been too diplomatic in attacking Israel.
"I will repeat those words, but I won't say them with such great politeness like the Chairman of the European Parliament," Horowitz began.
"The State of Israel and the occupation in the territories are strangling the Palestinian population," he accused, and said right-wing MKs had only taken issue with Schulz's comments because he had called for peace.
Relating to Schulz's allegations concerning discriminatory water-distribution policies, and in response to Jewish Home MK Orit Struk, who stood up to argue with him, Horowitz claimed that "There are [Arab] places where there is water twice a week, and for you in the settlements the water flows freely. In your swimming pools there is no problem with water."
It was not clear which places he was referring to.
Horowitz also accused Struk and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria of "polluting the land, polluting the groundwater and polluting the Knesset."
In response, MK Struk accused Horowitz of dodging the issues, and defended the decision by her party's MKs to walk out.
"I did not interrupt Mr. Schulz because he spoke about peace, but because he besmirched the State of Israel and told lies about us that never happened... if they spit on us we won't call it rain but we will stand up for the honor of the Jewish people and the State of Israel."