From: Rev. Sandra Olewine
United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem

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For Immediate Release
Press Release # 110

4 July 2001

Landmines Planted Around
Israeli Military Outpost in the Occupied Territories

Israeli forces stationed at an outpost near the village of al-Khader have
planted landmines in the area surrounding the post.  A local family and the
Roman Orthodox Church own the land on which the outpost is located.  To
date mines have accidentally exploded at this location on at least three
different occasions.

On March 4, 2000 Israeli forces informed Ali Salim Saleh of al-Khader that
they would be establishing a military outpost on his land.  Saleh lives on
Jabal Abu Soud, which is a hill that overlooks al-Khader and
Bethlehem.  Since its establishment this outpost has been used as a place
from which to shell the village of al-Khader and Bethlehem.  The outpost is
located only 15 to 20 meters from Saleh's home, and on several occasion
Israeli soldiers have used the house as a location from which to shoot into
the village.  Fifteen family members live in the home, including 3 of
Saleh's married children and six children under the age of 12.

Shortly after the camp was built an Israel officer called upon the Saleh
family and informed them in Hebrew that the area around the outpost was
surrounded with mines, and that they should not walk around their
home.  They asked to put up a fence around the home, but were denied
permission.  Two weeks later another officer came to the house and again
told them to be careful because there were mines in the area.  Mines have
accidentally exploded three times.  The second explosion occurred
approximately two weeks ago.  Saleh told al-Haq's fieldworker that there
was an explosion around 10:30 in the evening.  The next morning when he
went outside he noticed a large hole! in the field near his home.  The grass
surrounding the hole had been burned, and nearby stones had been
blackened.  A soldier later told him that they thought a dog walking
through the area had set off the mine.  The most recent explosions occurred
on June 30, when two mines detonated during the night.  What set them off
is unknown.  The area around the Saleh family home has been declared a
closed military area since the establishment of the outpost.

Since the outbreak of the Intifada 100's of outposts and checkpoints have
been set up throughout the Occupied Territories.  The use of landmines in
this location, and the possibility that they have been used in other
locations throughout the occupied territories leaves al-Haq gravely
concerned.

On October 30, 2000 Israeli signed the Protocol on Prohibitions or
Restrictions on the use of Mines, Booby-traps and other Devices (II) of the

Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).  The protocol entered into force
in Israel on April 1, 2001.  Article 4(2) of this Protocol states that "It
is prohibited to use weapons to which this Article applies [mines other
than remotely delivered mines, booby-traps, and other devices] in any city,
town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians
in which combat between ground forces is not taking place or does not
appear to be imminent".  When it ratified the Protocol Israel submitted
eight declarations related to its obligation.  These included a declaration
that "provisions of the Amended Protocol II, such as those regarding
marking, monitoring, and protection of areas containing mines under the
control of a high contracting party, shall apply to all areas containing
mines".  In placing new mines next to a civilian area Israeli has clearly
violated it's obligations under this protocol.  In refusing to allow a
fence to be put up aro! und the area containing the mines, and in leaving
them unmarked, Israel has also violated its own declarations related to the
treaty.

In accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 the Israeli
Authorities are responsible for ensuring the protection of the civilian
residents of the Occupied Territories, as they are protected persons.
Al-Haq therefore calls upon the Israeli government to:

1. Join the Mine Ban Treaty of 1997 calls for a ban on the use, production,

stockpiling, sale,  and transfer of Landmines.

2. Remove all the Landmines from the Occupied Territories. Until the
Israeli authorities comply with demand they must put up fences and post
clear signs warning the people of areas that contain Landmines.

3. Compensate any victims of Landmine explosions.

4. Fulfill its contracted duties as a signatory to the Protocol on
Prohibitions or Restrictions on the use of Mines, Booby-traps and other
Devices (II).