Israeli Land Mines Still Pose Problems for Palestinian Communities

29 February 2012

On the morning of February 28th, 2012 in the Palestinian village of Surif in the southern West Bank, two Israeli bulldozers and five jeeps of Israeli soldiers came unannounced to Abdel Hamid Abu Khader’s land. The soldiers placed erected concrete blocks with yellow warning signs, claiming that the land was mine-ridden and that the land was a closed military zone. The Palestinian owner of the land claims that the area was cleared of mines more than 20 years ago by the Palestinian Authority. The land mines were originally placed there by the Israeli army, as soldiers used Palestinian communities such as Surif (a very large town of about 15,000 people) for training operations. The total area of the land is about 10 acres and it is located very close to a busy street and to numerous residences, posing a danger to the civilian population. The actions of the soldiers this morning follow a joint Israeli settler and soldier attack on Surif in which 700 olive and fruit trees were uprooted and two water wells belonging to Palestinian farmers were destroyed. This kind of harassment, on the part of both soldiers and settlers, seems to be increasing in Surif and the surrounding area.