Israeli forces invaded the home in order weld shut one of its two entrances, and Zleikhah tried to stop them.
Zleikhah’s niece Rania al-Muhtaseb lives in the building with her husband Bassem and their three children.
The building has a back door towards Hebron’s market, and a front entrance towards the Ibrahimi mosque.
The front entrance goes out into an area heavily controlled by Israeli occupation forces which family members cannot easily cross except by passing through military checkpoints.
Trapped by checkpoints
When the Israeli soldiers showed up at the house on 13 August, Rania called her aunt, one of the building’s owners, who lives in Hebron’s Old City.
“She arrived within half an hour,” Rania told the human rights group B’Tselem. “The officers were trying to screw the door shut just as she came in. She went up to them and tried to stop them. She pressed herself against the door and held on to it. The female soldier tried to get her away from the door, but couldn’t.”
What happened next can be seen in the video above, filmed by Rania.
Israeli forces did eventually weld the door shut, causing the family considerable hardship.
“Before they welded the back door shut, I would go in and out of the house through the market,” Bassem explained. “Now, I have to get home by walking on the rooftops of the houses near the market. It’s dangerous at night, because the military watches the rooftops in the area.”
The alternative is to go through one of the military checkpoints where Palestinians face long delays and routine harassment.
“On top of this, my wife is pregnant, and I’m worried she’ll go into labor at night and we’ll have to get to hospital,” Bassem added, noting that occupation forces rarely agree to open the emergency gate in the checkpoint.
“The excuse provided by the security forces that the measure was needed to prevent ‘suspects’ from going through the house is unfounded and has no basis in reality,” B’Tselem said.
“Even if there were any truth to it, it could not justify such severe harm to the al-Muhtaseb family,” B’Tselem added. “This case is another example of Israel’s policy of segregation and restrictions on Palestinian movement in central Hebron, coupled with abuse, violence and daily harassment by security forces and settlers.”
As a result, life in the Old City of Hebron has become intolerable for Palestinians, and thousands have left the area – likely the intended goal of Israel’s policies.
Several hundred Israeli settlers protected by the Israeli army live in the vicinity of the Ibrahimi mosque, in Hebron’s Old City.
In 1994, an American Jewish settler from the nearby colony of Kiryat Arba massacred 29 Palestinians inside the mosque, which Muslims and Jews believe marks the spot where the bibilical prophet Abraham is buried.
On Friday, Palestinians in Hebron marched after noon prayers to protest Israel’s expansion of municipal services to the settlers in the Old City, a move Palestinians fear will further consolidate their grip.
According to the Ma’an News Agency, Israeli forces attacked the peaceful marchers with tear gas.