February 2004, Summary
New B'Tselem report: Over 25 percent of Sheikh Sa'ad residents forced to leave their homes; Construction of the Separation Barrier along the planned route - an expulsion order for the remaining residents.
In its new report, B'Tselem describes the isolation of Sheikh Sa'ad from Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the consequences for the residents if the Separation Barrier is built according to current plans.
The village of Sheikh Sa'ad is part of the contiguous urban area of East Jersualem. The village is not connected to the rest of the West Bank, and is only accessible through Jabal Mukabar, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
In September 2002, the IDF blocked the only road leading to the village with piles of dirt and concrete blocks. Since then, it has been impossible to enter or leave the village by vehicle. In order to leave the village on foot, those residents who do not have Jerusalem IDs must have a permit. Most of the requests for permits are denied.
Since the roadblock was set up, 25-30 percent of the residents have left their homes in the village. The planned route of the Separation Barrier in the area will block the only road leading to the village with an eight-meter-high wall. The building of the wall will force the residents to choose between living as prisoners in their village or leaving their homes.
Isolation, house demolitions, expropriation of land, and an inability to live a normal life are the practical results of the current route of the separation barrier. For a year and a half, B'Tselem has warned about the violations of human rights and international law resulting from the construction of the separation barrier along the route approved by the Israeli government. Had the government addressed B'Tselem's concerns, Israel might have avoided the discussion before the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
In the Sheikh Sa'ad area, the government still has time to fix its mistakes regarding the planning of the separation barrier, and prevent unnecessary suffering of Palestinian residents of the area, avoid the expense of having to move the barrier in the future, and reduce international criticism.
B'Tselem demands that the Israeli government immediately remove the siege on the village of Sheikh Sa'ad and enable its residents to enter East Jerusalem, and refrain from building a physical barrier that will separate the village from East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.