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Israel comprises much of the historic
regions known as Palestine and has existed as a country since 1948.
During the late 1800s, many Jews immigrated to Palestine from Eastern
Europe with the hope of establishing a Jewish state. In 1948, the nation
of Israel was established, and neighboring Arab countries invaded
immediately. The years have seen continuous wars though an uneasy peace
has sometimes prevailed. In May 2000, Israel withdrew from southern
The number of mines in Israel is
estimated to be 260,000. They are located along the borders of Jordan,
Lebanon and Syria, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan
Heights.There have been isolated incidents resulting in civilian
injuries, including those from accidental detonation of mines and
confrontations across the border with Israeli forces in the immediate
area of the borderline, particularly at the now-closed Kfar Kila/Fatima
Gate crossing. Mine fields are required to be marked, but a state audit
revealed that many are improperly marked. According to the 2001 landmine
Monitor Report, Israel has continued to use anitpersonnel mines in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories wihtout proper marking and fencing.
Because victims of landmines are
treated under "victims of hostile activities," detailed
statistics on landmine victims are not available. Because victims fall
under this clause, they receive extensive treatment, which includes
initial evaluation, operations, prosthetics and rehabilitation.
Vocational training and outpatient treatment are also provided. Military
graduates and school children receive detailed mine awareness sessions,
and the newspapers report military landmine victims.
Indigenous capacity is considered
significant and includes mine-clearing equipment, safety shoes, mine
plows and ground-penetrating radar. Israel and Jordan are currently
involved in humanitarian mine clearance projects. When Israel withdrew
from south Lebanon in May 2000, it gave the United Nations detailed mine
Many non-state actors use mines.
Hezbollah has used AP mines in south Lebanon. The group has continued to
use mines and improvised explosive devices regularly. Israeli officials
have stated Hezbollah refuses to stop using landmines.
Itamar Ben Avi 9
Tel Aviv, Israel