Israeli Parliament Passes Historic Mine Action Law

By Roots Of Peace, PRNE
Monday, March 14, 2011

International Community Celebrates Success of Campaign Led by 12-year old Landmine Survivor

JERUSALEM, March 15, 2011 - Last February, when young Daniel Yuval said he wanted to do something to
rid his country of landmines, even he did not expect that his call to action
would result in a dramatic shift in Israeli landmine policy this year.

Yesterday, the Israeli parliament, in an historic vote of 43 to 0, passed
legislation to establish a National Mine Action Authority to implement a
systematic national plan to clear nearly one million landmines from Eilat to
the Golan within years. Today, mine accident survivors and residents of
affected communities celebrate the success of "Mine-Free Israel" - a campaign
coordinated by Roots of Peace, together with the Association for Civil Rights
in Israel, the Center of Regional Councils, and Council for a Beautiful

Israelis and Palestinians have lived with the invisible but constant
threat of landmines claiming their lives and limbs. Minefields left from past
wars have blocked access to nature reserves and agricultural fields.

The unprecedented legislation, which passed a second and third reading
today, includes the Government of Israel's commitment to dedicate at least
NIS 27 million annually for humanitarian mine action, and it also creates a
mechanism to receive donations for mine clearance activities. A delegation
from the U.S. Department of State is visiting Israel this week to assess the
needs of Israel's nascent mine action program. The United States has provided
more than $1.9 billion to help over 80 mine-contaminated countries clear
minefields and explosive remnants of war as well as to destroy small arms and
light weapons since 1993.

"This is life-saving news for Israel and its neighbors," says Jerry
, an American who helped launch Mine-Free Israel and is a recognized
leader in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, co-recipient of the
1997 Nobel Prize for Peace. Like young Daniel, White also lost his leg to a
mine explosion some 27 years ago as a tourist hiking in the Golan. "Israel
can clear its minefields in less than ten years, following the example of
Jordan, which has already cleaned up its border with Israel and is expected
to be mine-free by July of this year," White says.

Jordan is a member of the 1997 International Landmine Ban Treaty, along
with more than 150 countries. The United States and Israel have not yet
joined the Treaty, which requires members to cease all landmine production
and use, destroy stockpiles, clear minefields and assist the victims

"This landmark legislation paves the way for humanitarian removal of
explosive litter preventing the use of agricultural lands and access to
religious sites sacred to Christian, Jewish and Muslim people alike. The Holy
Land is not 'holy' when there are landmines in the ground." said Heidi Kuhn,
Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace. "It took the voice of a young boy to
remind the world that once they are removed, fertile grounds become available
for planting peace in both Israel and the West Bank."


Roots of Peace an international humanitarian, non-political organization
works to unearth dangerous landmines in war-torn countries and empowers the
local communities scarred by these inhumane weapons. Working to build
sustainable crops on land once too dangerous to traverse is how we transform
the scars of conflict into the roots of peace. See

Heidi Kuhn, Founder/CEO, Roots of Peace, +1-415-455-8008, or Dhyan Or, ROP West Bank, +972-546-707106

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