Druze protesters from the Mount Carmel area clashed with the police near Yokneam on Tuesday. The demonstrators were against the laying of a natural gas pipeline on lands once belonging to them. Highway 70 in the direction of Yokneam from the north was also blocked.

“A quiet procession was agreed upon, but they began to disrupt the works, and went down to protest on the road”

Complained Northern District Chief Superintendent Yehuda Maman.

Several officers were injured and two Druze protesters were detained. Immediately, the protests were of no avail, as hundreds of officers continued to oversee the project and secured the surrounding roads.

The work was recommenced three months ago – about two years after work was brought to a halt following these very disagreements of ownership. The Israel Lands Administration made the decision to restart the work and also determined the level of compensation for the Druze inhabitants.

Fahmi Halabi, chairman of the Druze land association said:

“We are against violence…We will try to do everything to prevent this from becoming violent, but we don’t have the power to control everything, and we ask the government to reach an agreement with us soon.”

Intended to supply natural gas to the power station in Haifa and many factories in the area, the pipeline will pass between Dor Beach and Haifa Bay. So far, the pipeline has been laid between Dor Beach and Yokneam, and between Ha’emaqim Junction and Haifa. The work on the 11.5 km (7 miles) that is still remaining is expected to be completed within a matter of months.