Sir, – Hats off to my colleagues of the animal-rights group who saved a camel with a big crane from a mine field near the border with Jordan. Now we learned that wild camels can get hurt by mines.
What is, however, little known is that every week a Palestinian child gets hurt by either a mine or a munition remnant. The munition remnants (material left in the field from IDF exercises) often look like Coca-Cola bottles and kids pick them up and they explode.
Some of the mines were not laid by Israel but by Egypt or Jordan, yet it remains Israeli responsibility to clear mines in areas under Israeli jurisdiction. It is not enough to put up signs saying “beware mines!” First of all, young children have often not yet learned to read, and, moreover, sometimes signs disappear. The Military Judge Advocate General told us that sometimes Beduin remove signs and take them to their homes.
This situation, unknown to most Israelis, necessitates urgent cooperation by all (Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities) to take the old maps of mine fields from the shelves and to locate and clear the mines.
Now that peace with Syria is possible, the Israeli government can also consider ratifying the Ottawa Treaty against land mines.
Jerusalem Post – Jerusalem
Author: Dr. Philip Veerman
Date: Aug 14, 2000
DR.PHILIP VEERMAN, Defence for Children International, Israel Section, Jerusalem.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.