As a casual observer of German and European media, regular display of anti-Israel bias doesn’t surprise me anymore. But the report aired Sunday by Germany’s state-run broadcaster Tagesschau (ARD) during prime time was disturbingly biased — even by usual European standards. A video report titled “Dry Faucets in West Bank” was broadcasted on Germany’s most watched news show. The video clip accused Israel of ‘rationing the water supply’ of the Palestinian and diverting water resources to the neighbouring ‘Israeli settlements’.

The report narrated by ARD’s Israel correspondent Markus Rosch talks to a resident of a small Arab town of Salfit, who says, “We need water to live. Now there isn’t any. How can this go on like this?” The camera then switches to his little daughter who says she can’t go the holiday camps anymore due to water scarcity.

The story would be heartbreakingly tragic; if only it were true.

To check the facts, correspondent Markus Rosch doesn’t feel the need to consult any Israeli official or expert. He instead goes to Clemens Messerschmid, a German hydrologist based in the region. Messerschmidt is quick to blames this ‘water scarcity’ on — no prizes for guessing this one rights — the ‘Occupation’.

According German media watchdog Honestly Concerned, Messerschmid is the same genius scientist who in 2014 accused Israel of flooding Gaza by opening the gates of its dams that were built for the sole purpose of flooding Gaza. Not just Arab media, but even some reputed Western media outlets ran wild with the story of apocalyptic ‘Gaza Floods’. Later Al Jazeera and other news outlets were forced to retract their articles after the story was exposed as hoax.

Ulrich W. Sahm of the Frankfurt-based media watchdog Honestly Concerned confronts the accusations aired by state-run German broadcaster ARD:

[ARD’s correspondent] Rosch fails to disclose that Israel is pumping around 30 percent more water in the Palestinian region than agreed in the Oslo Accord. (…) While 90 percent of waste water in Israel is treated and redirected to agriculture through separate pipes, Palestinians have refused to take cheap treated water for irrigation, saying, “We don’t want your sh*t.” This way Palestinian farmers waste the precious drinking water in traditional wasteful methods on their vegetables in the fields. [Author’s translation]

Water libel against Israel isn’t something new. In 2014, German politician and President of the EU parliament Martin Schulz, while addressing the Israeli Knesset, accused Israel of deliberately supplying less water to the Palestinians.

In June 2016, Miriam Elman wrote an informative article here at Legal Insurrection debunking the media hoax about alleged water-cut by Israel during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Along with Qatar-based Al Jazeera, mainstream media outlets like UK’s Independent and International Business Times covered this hoax as a genuine news story.

In June 2016, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Jewish Rabbis of calling to ‘poison Palestinian water’. Unhinged by Abbas’s anti-Semitic libel taken from the Nazi playbook, EU parliamentarians gave him a long standing ovation.

Despite public complaints, German broadcaster ARD has issued a statement defending its Sunday’s coverage. According to the statement, ARD could not find anyone from Israeli side due to an unspecified “Jewish festival”. The channel also defended the credentials of German expert Clemens Messerschmid; describing him as a long-time advisor for various German and international organisations.

WATCH: Abbas Water libel EU debunked by Aussie Dave at Israellycool

[Cover image courtesy: Tagesschau, YouTube]