This January, more than 7,000 pilgrims visited the western bank of the River Jordan at the site where Jesus was Baptized to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. To reach the water they had to cross a cleared path in a dense minefield.
It is estimated that at the site, known as Qaser al-Yahud, landmines cover nearly 1 million square metres of land – about 140 football pitches. The mines, which were a result of the Six Day War in 1967, also block access to seven historic churches.
HALO is confirming approval from the Israelis, Palestinians and religious denominations to remove the deadly legacy of conflict. If funding can be secured, people will once again be able to explore the Holy Land in safety.
More than 450,000 pilgrims visit the site annually. At a time when sites of religious and historic significance are being destroyed, the project serves as a symbol of hope and reconciliation.
Photos by Ronen Shimoni of HALO.