Mine Action

Last updated: 23 November 2016

The State of Israel has at least 92km2 of confirmed and suspected mine contaminated areas, of which 34km2 are confirmed to contain antipersonnel mines. In 2015, 34km2 of suspected mined area was canceled through non-technical survey (NTS), and 0.7km2 of land was released by clearance.

Recommendation for action

  • Israel should report the extent of mine contamination nationwide, not merely the areas considered not essential for Israel’s security.


The exact extent of mine contamination in Israel is not known. Israel has reported 51km2 of confirmed mined area and a further 41km2 of suspected mined area, as set out in the table below. But the combined 126km2 represents only the area affected by mines that are not deemed essential to Israel’s security. The size of other mined areas is not made public.

Israel’s mine problem dates back to World War II. Subsequently, Israel laid significant numbers of mines along its borders, near military camps and training areas, and near civilian infrastructure. In August 2011, Israel’s military reported planting new mines to reinforce minefields and other defenses along its de facto border with Syria in the Golan Heights.[2]

The 2015 estimate of 92km2 for mined areas that are not considered essential for Israel’s security is a marked reduction on the 2014 estimate of 126km2.[3] This is due to a large area of land being canceled by NTS in 2015.

Mine contamination as at November 2015[1]

Type of contamination


Area (km2)


Area (km2)

AP mines only





AV mines only





AP and AV mines










Note: CHAs = confirmed hazardous areas; SHAs = suspected hazardous areas; AP = antipersonnel; AV = antivehicle.

Mine contamination in Israel impacts progress in regional development, and poses a risk to local communities.[4]

Program Management

The Israeli National Mine Action Authority (INMAA) is responsible for undertaking a “comprehensive programme of mine clearing projects inside Israel” in accordance with a 2011 demining law.[5] The law’s aim was “to create a normative infrastructure for the clearance of minefields that are not essential to national security, and to declare them as free from landmines with the highest degree of safety to civilians, in accordance with the international obligations of the State of Israel, and within the shortest period of time possible.”[6]

INMAA was established in the Ministry of Defense, with ministry staff responsible for planning mine action. INMAA is comprised of nine employees.[7] INMAA manages a “minefield information bank” that is open for public queries concerning demining plans and programs.[8]

Strategic planning

Israel reports that INMAA has a multi-year clearance plan for 2014−2017 that calls for clearance of areas in northern Israel (Galilee and the Golan Heights) in the summer, and in southern Israel (the Jordan Valley and Arava Plain) in the winter.[9] In addition, INMAA will continue to manage projects in the West Bank, funded by the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[10] (See Palestine mine action profile for further details.)

In addition, a number of development projects funded by local electricity, water, and infrastructure companies and authorities pay for mine clearance.[11]

Clearance tasks are assigned according to a classification formula laid down by INMAA: prioritization is set nationally every three years. The criteria used for the formula are largely based on the risk level and development potential of the affected areas.[12] INMAA has been conducting a study on the social and economic impacts of land released in the last four years, as well as on the potential impact for future clearance sites.[13]

Legislation and standards

The 2011 law on minefield clearance was noted above. INMAA sets national standards “taking into consideration the procedures of the Israel Defense Forces that will be as compatible as possible with the International Mine Action Standards.”[14]


Commercial companies are contracted to conduct clearance as well as quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC). In 2015, clearance was contracted to two national companies: Eitan Lidor Projects (ELP) and the Israeli Mine Action Group (IMAG).[15]

Machines have been deployed since INMAA’s first project in 2012, and mechanical assets include various systems for screening and crushing, and use of flails for ground preparation and survey, but not for clearance.[16]

In 2015, 92 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel, 21 mechanical operators, and 19 machines were deployed for clearance operations.[17] The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also conduct mine clearance according to their own mine action plans “that are executed by their military methods and techniques,” and implement an annual program that includes maintenance of mined area protections.[18] During wintertime, the IDF give special attention to minefields that are close to farms, residential areas, or hiker routes, as mines may be carried into these areas by floods.[19]

Quality management

Every mine clearance project in Israel has an INMAA supervisor, a QA/QC contractor, and a clearance operator. Four QA/QC contractors were formally registered, as at the end of 2015.[20] Zeev Levanon Projects and 4CI Security were contracted to conduct QA and QC of clearance operations in 2015.[21]

Land Release

In 2015, almost 0.7km2 was released by clearance, compared to 1.2km2 in 2014.[22] A further 34km2 was canceled by NTS.

Survey in 2015 

In 2015, 34km2 was canceled through NTS. This was the result of a geomorphological survey conducted in flooded areas, which showed that the water that ran through the minefields did not necessarily reach all areas in the river basin.[23]

Clearance in 2015

Almost 0.7km2 of land was released by clearance in 2015 (excluding the West Bank).[24] 

Mine clearance in 2015[25]


Areas released

Area cleared (m²)

AP mines destroyed

AV mines destroyed

UXO destroyed



















Note: AP = antipersonnel; AV = antivehicle; UXO = unexploded ordnance.

Clearance in 2015 was split between northern and southern Israel. ELP carried out clearance tasks in the Valley of Springs in the north and Ein Yahav in the south. IMAG carried out clearance in Snir in the north.[26]

The area cleared or released by the IDF is unknown. According to Israel’s Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Article 13 transparency report for 2015, the IDF has made significant progress in clearing minefields and releasing areas of land for civilian use.[27]

Progress in 2016

In 2016–2017, INMAA was planning for mine clearance at a targeted rate of 1.5km2 per year.[28] INMAA was planning to implement the use of mine detection dogs in 2016.[29]

Clearance operations are concentrated on areas for agricultural development in the south (the Jordan Valley and Arava Plain), together with clearance in the north (Galilee and the Golan Heights) to improve access to water, to clear hiking trails, and to expand cattle grazing areas.[30]

Past progress

Based on the clearance rates of the last few years, and INMAA’s forecasted clearance rate of 1.5km2 per year, it will take many years to clear remaining contamination. INMAA is seeking additional funding and assistance in order to speed up operations.[31]

Mine clearance in 2011–2015[32]


Area cleared (m2)













Note: N/R = not reported.


The Monitor gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review supported and published by Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which conducted mine action research in 2016 and shared it with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] Email from Michael Heiman, Director of Technology and Knowledge Management, Israeli National Mine Action Authority (INMAA), 19 September 2016.

[2]Israel army plants new mines along Syria border,” Associated Press, 13 August 2011.

[3] Email from Michael Heiman, INMAA, 13 April 2015.

[4] Ibid., 19 September 2016.

[5] Minefield Clearance Law 5771-2011 of March 2011, unofficial translation. See, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for 2010), Form A. Form A refers to details provided in Form D, but information in Form D was deleted.

[6] Minefield Clearance Law 2011 (MCL 5771-2011).

[7] Email from Michael Heiman, INMAA, 19 September 2016.

[8] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for 2015), Form A.

[9] Email from Michael Heiman, INMAA, 19 September 2016.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.; and from Eran Yuvan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 6 May 2012.

[15] Email from Michael Heiman, INMAA, 19 September 2016.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Email from Eran Yuvan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 29 April 2014; and CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for 2015), Form B.

[19] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for 2015), Form B.

[20] Ibid., Form G.

[21] Email from Michael Heiman, INMAA, 19 September 2016.

[22] Ibid., 13 April 2015.

[23] Ibid., 19 September 2016.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid. According to Israel’s CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for 2015), Form B, 21,322 mines were destroyed in 2015.

[26] Email from Michael Heiman, INMAA, 19 September 2016.

[27] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report (for 2015), Form B.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Email from Michel Heiman, INMAA, 19 September 2016.

[32] See Landmine Monitor and Mine Action Review reports on clearance in Israel covering 2011–2014.