Officials from the Palestinian Authority criticized the destruction this week of an ancient water well and reservoir southeast of Bethlehem used by Palestinian Bedouin shepherds as their main sources of water.Israel’s destruction of water wells and other infrastructure used by the Bedouin tribes is a common practice. One Bedouin village alone has had their homes and barns destroyed 14 times in the last year by Israeli authorities. Israeli officials say the destruction is justified as the Bedouin Arab tribes are ‘unrecognized’, even though they have lived on the land for hundreds of years.

Ali Auda, who heads the Bedouin tribe southeast of Bethlehem, sharply criticized the destruction of the water, especially given the arid climate in which water is a scarce and valuable resource. Auda told reporters with Ma’an News, “It is the farce of the twenty-first century, imagine, an occupying state telling Palestinians they are violating their own land.”

According to the Bedouins, the destruction of the water well is an attempt by the Israeli authorities to push them off their ancestral land by rendering it uninhabitable.

Israeli authorities gave no comment on the destruction of the water wells. They had issued a demolition permit to the owner of the well, Ali Madghan Rashayida, and the owner of the reservoir, Majid Rashayida, on March 13th. Armored bulldozers arrived on the site less than two weeks later and carried out the destruction of the water source.

Palestinian officials called the destruction of the well and reservoir ‘an obvious assault by the Israeli occupation.’