On March 14, 2011, Israel's Knesset unanimously passed groundbreaking legislation to establish the first national mine action authority to begin clearing landmines inside Israel. Daniel Yuval, a 12 year old victim of a landmine accident, witnessed this vote. Says Stimson's Chair, Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., "We were proud to host Israel's Youth Ambassador Daniel Yuval along with Jerry White, head of the Campaign for a Mine-Free Middle East, and others last year in an effort to bring this very compelling story to Washington's attention as it was unfolding in Israel." Video and information about the event can be found below. Please read Jerry White's op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, Clearing Mines and Hearts, for more information.
More than 500,000 landmines and other explosive remnants of war contaminate over 200 million square meters of land in Israel. When eleven-year old Daniel Yuval lost his leg to one of those landmines last February, in the Golan Heights, the Israeli public woke up to the need to demine these remnants of war. This year, 73 Knesset Members from all political parties in Israel co-sponsored new legislation to establish a humanitarian demining authority to clear all nonoperational minefields. The bill has received widespread support from the Israeli public, Knesset and leading officials. In the coming weeks, members of the Knesset Defense and Security Committee will propose a final version of the legislation for public reading and vote for passage in 2011. On December 1, 2010, Landmine survivors Daniel Yuval and Jerry White and a delegation from Israel, along with a US official overseeing similar efforts worldwide, discussed that country's initiative to establish a national policy to remove landmines from non-operational minefields, within a specified timeframe, and in accordance with international humanitarian mine action standards.