Druse protest plans to expropriate 2,000 dunams of land on Carmel Mountains

Druse leaders in the North protested Saturday against Israel's plans to expropriate 2,000 dunams of land from their community on the east Carmel Mountains. The plans are intended for several national projects including the construction of a cross-country road, laying a gas pipeline and assembling the Hamemek railway tracks. Druse spiritual leader Sheikh Muafak Tarif told Army Radio that "the Druse community supports national projects but not our expense." He said that in contrast to Arabs, no land was being offered as a replacement, adding that ministers Shaul Mofaz and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer had said that the projects would not begin until a deal is reached with the Druse leaders. On Saturday afternoon, Druse residents of the area are planning to hold a protest and erect a tent on the land, near Yokne'am.