Sep 22, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

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A documentary claiming to explain the ecological crisis at the Dead Sea has been accused of being nothing more than a political hit job blaming Israel for an ecological crisis that is actually the result of European-funded Palestinian land grabs. Lacking eyes to see prophecy taking place, the video condemned Israelis for making the desert bloom.

Environmental documentary or anti-Israel propaganda? 

Naomi Linder Kahn of the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think tank known for publishing articles critical of Islamic extremism and mass migration, reported on ABC Australia’s “Foreign Correspondent” program broadcasting of  “The Sinking Sea.” The documentary, created by  Eric Tlozek, ABC’s outgoing Middle East correspondent, is more political indoctrination than nature film.

The first 13 minutes of the video present the breathtaking beauty of the Dead Sea, hearing from geologists who focus on the man-caused changes that endanger the natural wonder. 

The documentary then moves upstream to the water sources that feed the Dead Sea. Shifting the focus from the environment to politics, Tlozek spends 20 minutes blaming the Dead Sea’s ecologic troubles on the Israeli “occupation” and Israeli “settlers”. As if only Jews drink water, he blames water shortages and the cataclysmic shifts in the landscape around the Dead Sea on the dispossession of the “indigenous” Palestinian population.”

It should be noted that the Dead Sea is described in several places in the Hebrew Bible and its shores are dotted with Jewish archaeological sites like Masada and Qumran.

The Gatestone Institute’s report on the documentary noted that Tlozek blamed the Jews for destroying the Dead Sea while omitting any mention of Jordan’s construction of dams and rerouting the waters of the Jordan River in the 1950s when the Hashemite Kingdom illegally occupied the region. As part of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty signed in 1994, Israel still gives Jordan 50 million cubic meters annually from the Jordan River and  75% of the water from the Yarmouk River. 

The Gatestone report suggests a different culprit for the ecological crisis at the world’s lowest point. 

“The Palestinian Authority uses European funding to cultivate more and bigger tracts of Israeli state land every year, a well-known exploitation of the loophole in the Ottoman Land Law (still in force in these territories) that grants rights to anyone who uses land for agricultural purposes for a period of several years, whether they own it or not,” Linder Kahn wrote. “The PA invests untold millions of euros of European taxpayer-funded “humanitarian aid” to initiate massive, unsustainable agricultural projects in desert areas under Israeli jurisdiction in order to take control, physically, of ever-expanding swaths of territory.”

“The allocation of water to Palestinian residents under Israeli jurisdiction was determined in the framework of the Oslo Accords according to population size. Simply put, there would be no water crisis if Europe and the PA would not have orchestrated a large-scale migration of people into Area C for political purposes.”

Prophecy

In contrast, the documentary glosses over the prophetic aspirations of the Israeli farmers. In an interview, David, an Israeli farmer, says the Jewish settlers have used the water well, making an arid land productive and fertile.

“When we came to the Jordan Valley, we found a desert,” says David, a spokesperson for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. “Nothing was growing here. So now the Jordan Valley is green.”

David is, of course, referring to the pre-Messiah prophecy explicitly stated by Isaiah:

The arid desert shall be glad, The wilderness shall rejoice And shall blossom like a rose. Isaiah 35:1

While bemoaning the dire situation at the Dead Sea, the documentary rejects the prophetic process that will bring the region back to life.

Then said he unto me: ‘These waters issue forth toward the eastern region and shall go down into the Arabah; and when they shall enter into the sea into the sea of the putrid waters the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass that every living creature wherewith it swarmeth whithersoever the rivers shall come shall live; and there shall be a very great multitude of fish; for these waters are come thither that all things be healed and may live whithersoever the river cometh. Ezekiel 47:8-9

The Bible even describes the pre-Sodom condition of the Dead Sea region as being lush.

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of the Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before Hashem destroyed Sdom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Hashem. Genesis 13:10

In effect, the documentary is condemning the prophecies of the blooming desert, more specifically the Dead Sea, while at the same time lying about the facts of the situation it claims to be reporting on.

Biased reporter

Tlozek has been criticized for an anti-Israel bias in his reporting. In September 2020, Hamas fired 13 rockets at Israel, wounding eight Israelis.  In his report on the attack, Tlozek said that “there was a couple of rockets fired that were “largely symbolic.”  He then referred to Israel’s “military occupation” of Judea and Samaria, describing it as the “world’s longest.” Israel is not, in fact, occupying Judea and Samaria and even if it were classified as such, it is far from being the world’s longest. 

In November 2019, Tlozek was critical of the IDF’s targeted assassination of  Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander Baha Abu al-Ata who was responsible for countless rocket attacks on Israel. Tlozek criticized the killing, saying al-Ata’s “replacement will be more radical… and revive militarism and support for violence.” 

Tlozek went on to blame Israel for PIJ and Hamas violence, saying, “one reason Israel abandoned its tactic of assassinating Palestinian militant leaders is because it ultimately led to more violence”, adding that prior to al-Ata’s death, “many people in Gaza wanted a political solution to the miserable situation” in Gaza but “now there are loud calls for a violent retaliation.”

He also claimed that PIJ and Hamas enjoyed popularity in Gaza because Gazans have never “had redress for the historical injustices”. He said that to improve their lives Israel needs to end “the economic and military blockade that causes so much misery” and “to recognize and deal openly with Hamas.” Conveniently, Egypt’s enforcement of the blockade went unmentioned. 

Tlozek made the stunningly irrational claim that Hamas “still formally calls for Israel’s destruction even while its leaders admit that’s an unacceptable and unachievable goal”.