|New Knesset Law Enacted to Rid Israel of Landmines|
|Written by Ruby Ong|
These signs are a common sight in the Israeli landscape.
The Knesset has enacted a new law to rid Israel of non-operational landmines. The legislation was passed by an overwhelming majority following a civil society campaign by Roots of Peace International and Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
There are an estimated 1 million non-operational landmines in Israel, the West Bank and the Palestinian held territories, mainly along the pre-1967 borders. One of the most recent victims of the mines was 12 year-old Daniel Yuval, who lost a leg last year during a family trip to the Golan Heights.
Although Israel is not a signatory to the Ottowa Mine-Ban Treaty of 1997, the new law is in accordance with the treaty. A visiting delegation from the US State Department in charge of humanitarian mine action assessed Israel’s needs in clearing out landmines during a trip last week.
The new law has resulted in the establishment of the National Mine Action Authority, which will operate under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense, and which will be allocated a budget from the Ministry of Finance.
Ehud Uziel, Director of ACRI’s International Humanitarian Law Project, said, “Hundreds of people have lost lives and limbs because of the wide use of landmines in Israel. We are thrilled that at long last Israel is taking a huge step in the right direction to make this earth safer and mine-free."