British, US and Dutch Heads of Mission visited Surif to see the success of a joint mine clearance project supported by the three countries.
The British, US and Dutch Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah visited Surif today to see the success of a joint mine clearance project supported by the three countries. The United States, the Netherlands, the UK and New Zealand have jointly contributed $8.2 million to the HALO Trust to remove and clear mines placed in the 1950s and 1960s throughout the West Bank and to create a safe environment for all. HALO has cleared over 784 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, 89 dangerous remnants and 15 unexploded ordnance from four sites across the West Bank. As a result, lives have been saved, over 125,000 square meters of unused land has been repurposed by Palestinian land owners for commercial and agricultural use, and Palestinian communities can thrive again without the fear of mines.
Netherlands Representative in Ramallah Mr. Peter Mollema, UK Consul General Dr. Alastair McPhail, and US Consul General Mr. Donald Blome visited Surif, a small village northwest of Hebron. They visited to highlight the importance of clearing this particular mine field, located in the centre of the village.
During the visit, Ronen Shimoni, HALO Trust’s Programme Manager, briefed the Heads of Mission on the impact of the minefield on the local population including injuries resulting from the mines. Afterwards they toured the minefield to see the progress of the mine clearance and learn more about the types of mines located there.
Finally, the delegation met local landowners to hear about the challenges created due to the mine field and the benefit of finally having access to their land again.