Israel’s defense establishment is not permitting residents of the Palestinian village of Sheikh Sa’ad, southeast of Jerusalem, to leave the town in their cars. There are even restrictions on walking out of the village, a privilege reserved for residents with Israeli identity cards.
To its west, Sheikh Sa’ad is walled off by the separation fence, while to the east, north and south it is surrounded by the Kidron Valley. The 3,000 residents of Sheikh Sa’ad are isolated from all other towns now that the West Bank separation fence has cut off Sheikh Sa’ad from Jabal Mukkaber, which falls under the municipal jurisdiction of Jerusalem.
The 1,800 residents who possess Israeli identity cards are denied road access to Jerusalem despite the fact that they are considered residents of the city. The remaining 1,200 villagers, who carry Palestinian identity papers, have no way to leave the area save a descend into the valley, from which they then need to climb a steep incline. During the winter, this can be done only when the valley is not inundated with rainwater. Palestinians need to traverse several kilometers just to reach the nearest village of Sawahra al-Sharkiya.