Defense Ministry urged to tackle land mine dangers

Ayoub Kara demands new policy after recent tragedy.

February 14, 2010 23:18
2 minute read.
Golan mines

Golan Mines. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Deputy Minister of the Negev and Galilee Ayoub Kara announced Sunday that he would work to formulate a systemic policy to remove Israeli minefields after years of the Defense Ministry failing to effectively address the issue.

Kara went on a fact-finding trip to the Golan Heights on Sunday to see firsthand the minefields containing thousands of potentially explosive devices, which are deployed throughout the popular tourist destination.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Kara’s first stop was to the Gadot overlook, near the site where, two weeks ago, Daniel and Amit Yuval were injured by a land mine while playing in the snow. The injury of the two children, which occurred when dozens of snow-seekers unwittingly entered what they say was an unmarked minefield, has raised awareness of the many land mines still buried along Israel’s borders.

At the Gadot overlook, Kara met with Golan Regional Council head Eli Malka, as well as representatives of government ministries and the Coalition for a Mine-Free Israel. Despite the fact that Kara requested that the Defense Ministry send a representative to the Sunday visit, the Defense Ministry – which Kara said has dragged its feet for years on the issue of mine-clearing – was not present.

Kara’s office said that for years, Israeli Defense Ministers have chosen to avoid dealing with mine removal. Kara said that he now plans to take the reins from the Defense Ministry, and to meet personally with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss the issue.

A major international accord to prevent anti-personnel mines went into effect in 1999 and 156 states throughout the world committed to clear minefields in their territories. Jordan, according to Kara’s office, has already cleared all the IDF and Jordanian mines along its border with Israel.

Kara’s office said that thousands of mines that have no strategic purpose are still buried in Israel, mostly in fields and open lands in the Golan, the Arava and the Jordan Valley. A total of 33,000 dunams (3,300 hectares) of land in Israel are considered dangerous minefields, and Kara’s office emphasized that clearing the non-strategically necessary mines could improve Israel’s international standing.

During his visit to the area, Kara also met with a delegation of Druse leaders who are expected to travel to visit co-religionists in Syria. In the meeting, Kara briefed them in hopes that they would be able to advance negotiations regarding water imports from Syria to Druse communities in the Golan Heights.

The four Druse communities, concentrated in the northern tip of the Golan and on the slopes of Mt. Hermon, already have some limited trade relations with Syria. Apples grown by the communities, which vocally maintain their loyalty to Syria, have been exported through the Kunetra checkpoint to Syrian and even Saudi Arabian markets.

Last week, Kara met with US Ambassador James Cunningham, and the two discussed the prospects of water imports. Kara said the ambassador supported the initiative, saying it could improve relations between Jerusalem and Damascus, and that he will share the idea with the incoming ambassador, slated to take office in the coming weeks.

Druse elders noted that the infrastructure still exists for water pipelines from Syrian springs to the town of Majdal Shams.

Related Content

The Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
April 30, 2015
Teva doubles down on Mylan, despite rejection