Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019


The State of Israel has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.

In November 2010, Israel reiterated its long-standing position that “regional circumstances prevailing in the Middle East prevent Israel from committing to a total ban on anti-personnel mines. Unfortunately, these regional conditions have not improved in recent years.”[1] Israel has said that “it is unable to disregard its specific military and security needs” and that “it cannot commit to a total ban on anti-personnel mines as they are a legitimate means for defending its borders against possible incursions such as terrorist attacks.”[2]

On 28 March 2011, Israel’s parliament (the Knesset) unanimously adopted the Mine Field Clearance Act. The law establishes a national mine action authority to manage the clearance of Israel’s “non-operational” minefields, but it does not refer to the Mine Ban Treaty or address the use, production, transfer, or stockpiling of antipersonnel mines.[3]

Israel last attended a formal meeting of the Mine Ban Treaty in November–December 2004, when it participated as an observer in the First Review Conference in Nairobi.

In December 2018, Israel abstained from voting on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 73/61calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, as it has done in previous years.[4]

Israel is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines. Israel is not party to CCW Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, nor is it party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Israel has said it “ceased all production and imports of antipersonnel mines in the early 1980s.”[5] It has dismantled its antipersonnel mine production lines.[6] Israel has in the past been a significant antipersonnel landmine producer and exporter. Israel is known to have produced the M12A1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 6 (a copy of the M18A1 Claymore) antipersonnel mines.[7] Israel has produced and exported antipersonnel mines since at least the 1970s, when it provided some to South Africa.[8] Manufacturers included Israel Military Industries (IMI, based in Ramat Hasharon, and Tel Aviv-based Explosive Industries Ltd. (EIL). Nations listed in the trade press as acquiring IMI mines include Argentina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nigeria, and Zaire.[9] EIL’s No. 4 plastic antipersonnel mine was found by British deminers in the Falklands/Malvinas.[10]

Israel declared a moratorium on the transfer of all antipersonnel mines in 1994 that was extended for three-year periods in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2014. The 2014 extension was effective until July 2017.[11] According to Israel, the moratorium was declared in recognition of the “grave humanitarian consequences” associated with antipersonnel mines and “the need, in this respect, for self imposed state restraint.”[12]

On 31 December 2007, the Defense Export Control Act entered into force in Israel. The act “criminalizes, inter alia, any violation of the export without an export license or contrary to its provisions. This Act serves as Israel’s statutory framework for the implementation of its obligations under the CCW regarding restrictions and prohibitions on transfer and the Moratorium on any sales of [antipersonnel mines].”[13]

The size and composition of Israel’s stockpile of antipersonnel mines remains unknown, but it includes both hand-emplaced and remotely-delivered mines.[14]

In the summer of 2017, the Israeli Mine Action Authority (INMAA) began a three-year effort to clear minefields in the Golan Heights under Israel’s control.[15]


The NGO Mine-Free Israel estimates that as of 2011, there were approximately one million operational and non-operational mines laid in minefields covering more than 197,000 dunams (197 km2) in Israel and Palestine.[16]

In August 2011, Bamachaneh, the journal of the Israel Defense Force (IDF), reported that the IDF laid antipersonnel mines in the Golan Heights along the border with Syria.[17] The mines were laid after hundreds of civilians entered Israeli territory on 15 May 2011 during the annual Palestinian commemoration of “Nakba Day,” apparently crossing through minefields uninjured.[18]

The ICBL denounced the mine-laying as “shocking” and “disgraceful.”[19] The president of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties issued a statement expressing concern.[20]

[1] Letter from Eyal Propper, Director of Arms Control Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 November 2010.

[2] Email from Joshua Zarka, Counselor for Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 April 2007. Israel made a similar statement at the UN First Committee meetings in October 2011, stating “as long as the regional security situation continues to impose a threat on Israel’s safety and sovereignty, the need to protect the Israeli borders – including through the use of AP [antipersonnel] mines – cannot [be] diminished.” See, statement of Israel, UN General Assembly First Committee, New York, 4 October 2011.

[3] Mine Field Clearance Act, 5771-2011, 14 March 2011.

[4] “Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction,” UNGA Resolution 73/61, 5 December 2018.

[5] Email from Meir Itzchaki, Regional Security and Arms Control Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 February 2003. In the past, Israel produced low metal content blast antipersonnel mines (No. 4, No. 10), a bounding fragmentation mine (No. 12), and Claymore-type directional fragmentation munitions, designated M18A1.

[6] Interview with members of the Israeli delegation to the Eighth Session of the CCW Group of Government Experts, Geneva, 8 July 2004.

[7] US Department of Defense Mine Facts database.

[8] James Adams, The Unnatural Alliance: Israel and South Africa (London: Quartet, 1984), p. 93.

[9] Cited in Human Rights Watch Arms Project/Physicians for Human Rights, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993), p. 94.

[10] Defense News, January 26, 1987.

[12] Ibid., 3 July 2013.

[13] Ibid., Form D, November 2007.

[14] Israel reported that in 2005 the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) destroyed 15,510 outdated mines at an ammunition disposal facility. It has not reported any further destruction of mines since that time. CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form C, 22 November 2005.

[15] Anna Ahronheim, “New Golan Mine-Clearing Project to Begin This Summer,” The Jerusalem Post, 16 March 2017.

[16] Rebecca Anna Stoil, “Knesset paves way for landmine clearance effort,” Jerusalem Post, 14 March 2011.

[17] The mines were laid openly and in daylight by Combat Engineering Corps officer cadets; they were placed beyond the border security fence but within the “Alpha Line” that marks the border with Syria. Gil Ronen, “Antipersonnel Mines Laid Along Syria Border ‘for September,’” Arutz Sheva (Israel News), 11 August 2011.

[18] According to IDF Maj. Ariel Ilouz, “Because of age, rain and other natural hazards the antipersonnel mines that were laid along the border were full of mud…They were simply stuck. These mines have been are as [sic] old as 35–36 years and have not been touched.” Or Butbul and Reut Farkash, “Operation Mine,” undated.

[19] The ICBL described Israel’s use of antipersonnel mines to prevent border crossings as “unlawful as it is an unnecessary and disproportionate use of lethal force.” ICBL Press release, “Nobel Peace Prize-winning global campaign strongly condemns Israel’s new use of landmines,” 16 August 2011.

[20] Mine Ban Treaty Implementation Support Unit Press release, “President of Convention Banning Anti-Personnel Mines Expresses Concern About New Use of Mines by Israel,” Geneva, 6 September 2011.