The Jerusalem Municipality has manipulated the statistics of housing demolitions in east Jerusalem to make it look like fewer are taking place, “The Jerusalem Post” reported on Friday.
The policy of not including “self-demolitions” where Palestinian families are threatened with staggering fines if they do not demolish their own houses in the official count, has allowed Jerusalem to present a picture of a dramatic decrease in demolitions .
In 2000, the municipality of the ‘Occupied’ Jerusalem began a policy of “self-demolitions.” The number of self-demolitions rose from 18 in 2008 to 49 in 2009 and 70 in 2010, stated the report quoted by the Israeli newspaper.
Since then, the demolition orders can require the owners of the house to pay exorbitant fines unless they carry out the demolitions themselves. Some Arab families chose this path, fearful they could become stuck in debt.
The self-demolitions were a result of the courts placing increasingly higher fines on repeat offenders, and that some people “preferred to demolish the buildings themselves rather than accrue additional fines.”