Ms Katarina Cvikl Balić
T: +386 1 4796 593
Landmines in Israel and the region have been a problem since the 1950s and 1960s, when more than 1.5 million land mines have been laid in a combined area of over 202 million square meters in the Golan Heights, in the Arava Valley and along the Jordan River. This includes more than 300,000 land mines contaminating around 20 million square meters of agricultural and residential land in the West Bank with UXO further making sites inaccessible.
The concept of humanitarian mine clearance is relatively new to the region; in March 2011 the Israeli Ministry of Defense established Israeli National Mine Action Authority (INMAA) and in February 2012 the Palestinian Authority established the Palestinian Mine Action Centre (PMAC) to coordinate mine action in the West Bank. Following the establishment of INMAA, and the initial works in the Arava Valley in 2012, demining spread to the West Bank in 2013.
Between April 2014 and November 2015, the a-Nabi Elyas minefield, an area of 64,000 square meters in the Qalqiliya District in the West Bank, a high priority site, threatening the lives of local villagers has been cleared. Georgian manual deminers and Palestinian machine operators worked together with Israeli and international staff to clear the minefield and enabled eleven families to use their land in safety. In June 2015 clearance has been expanded to a minefield south of Bethlehem, near the town of Hussan; works were completed in January 2016 after finding and safely destroying 215 mines from a minefield less than 100 meters from the village of Hussan.
What we do
The overall goal of the Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) on demining works in the West Bank project, supported by U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), is to certify accordance with IMAS and confirm that the formerly mined land no longer threatens the lives of local population.
Since mid-March 2016, ITF has been involved in coordination activities necessary to lay the foundations for the commencement and successful implementation of the QA/QC project. Starting in April 2016, ITF has contracted an Israeli commercial company that has since been supervising the minefield clearance works at Um Daraj worksite, where mines laid by Jordanian military are being removed employing manual and mechanical clearance techniques.