The field will be cleared within a few months and the land will be used for agriculture, “mines no longer serve an operational purpose”
Date: 16/02/2012, 2:44 PM Author: Florit Shoihet
Preserving peace at the border with Jordan and for the security and quality of life of both Israeli and Palestinian residents in the Jordan River Valley region, IDF (Zahal) clears 35 dunams of mine fields near the popular Christian baptism site Qaser el Yahud. The fields included 1,500 mines, mostly anti-tank mines and few anti-personnel mines.
The region was mined in 1978 before the peace treaty with Jordan was signed and will be declared cleared of mines in a few months. The area will be used for agriculture most likely for date crops.
“We see clearing of the mines as an important mission,” said deputy engineering officer, Maj. Sagi Rokach. “The border with Jordan is a peace border and these mine fields no longer serve an operational purpose.”
According to Maj. Rokach, clearing the mines is part of a process the IDF (Zahal) has been working on for several years. Within the next year 8,000 mines will be cleared in the Jordan River Valley Region similarly to last year. “Overall there are approximately 12 thousand mines in the Jordan River Valley region, and we are thus coming closer to completely clearing these lands,” he explained. In the future the lands will be used for agricultural purpose, supported by local farmers who claim the land has become especially fertile.
Combat engineering corps soldiers currently in advance training were assigned to clear the mines. This is an integral part of their training and serves as a test of their skills. The explosions were carefully monitored since the mine field is located near the Christian baptism site Qaser el Yahud as well as a military post.