A few kilometers west of Bethlehem and southwest of Jerusalem, the West Bank community of Husan is exposed to a constant threat of landmines that contaminate a residential area in the village. Children pass through an unfenced and unmarked minefield, across a narrow goat path, on their way to kindergarten and school. Over the past 50 years, several mine incidents have occurred in Husan, resulting in loss of limbs and lives.
Last March, the State of Israel, which is in charge of the Husan area, passed an historic law for the establishment of an authority that, for the first time, will be responsible for the clearance of all non-operational minefields in the country. This new law also allows non-governmental organizations to sponsor mine clearance operations in designated locations, such as Husan.
Roots of Peace, an international humanitarian, non-political organization based in the U.S., is launching an initiative to demine and replant the Husan minefield, in cooperation with local landowners, the Israeli and Palestinian authorities and the United Nations. The estimated cost of the project is 90,000 CHF.
In November 2010, 11-year-old Daniel Yuval, a landmine survivor from Israel, addressed a meeting of the States Parties of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in Geneva calling for states to clear minefields in the Middle East and avoid further human tragedies. His speech, given to an audience of over 150 high-ranking diplomats, including Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, moved the audience and made international headlines.
Inspired by Daniel’s call, supporters based in Tannay are sponsoring a concert on Saturday night, the 28th of May, featuring an exceptional performance of the Quintet La Bandanéon (labandaneon.ch) led by Ahmed Hamdy, who was born in Egypt and lives in Geneva, playing its acclaimed New Tango music, and a Swiss première of a short documentary on Husan made by Galia Oz, daughter of Amos Oz, Israel's most celebrated author.
For more information, visit: tinyurl.com/deminehusan
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