For a while, I have been trying to adapt, perhaps, or to convince myself that what is happening is temporary in Beit Hanina.
The quiet residential neighborhood is no longer the address for this main street connecting the city edges.
Restaurants and cafés have never been so fascinated by the accompanying character of this area of Beit Hanina. In the end, here, a few meters away, King Hussein was spending his vacation, and opposite me was his unfinished palace.
Initially, this street was close to a promenade. But today, walking in it is closer to being described as walking in a car racetrack or an airport that takes you or shows you your hell.
I was naive to think that the annoying perforated exhilarating sounds are from old cars. The first time I heard it, I said to myself: How difficult life is for these young people. Old, worn-out vehicles.” These voices abounded, then I realized, “Is it possible that all the cars suddenly became obsolete?
Of course, this turns out to be a fashion! I can’t understand any logic to an Exocet perforator to make it pop and pop on the road. And if it were left to the annoying sound that reminds one of the warnings of war followed by the sound of warplanes hovering over your head, it would have been possible to live with it. But what is happening is more than sound pollution that deteriorates the ears and gradually deafens them. But it’s an absolute horror of a horrific, potentially lurking accident that is inevitable.
Because these sounds require at least a speed of sixty, the driver finds himself in a car race yard, not caring about the congestion of the street, which has become like the Parks Street in Jericho, bustling with pedestrians and cars.
Previously, this street was called Death Street, due to a large number of accidents on it. Years ago, when the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem (the occupation) worked on the infrastructure to rehabilitate the street, I also thought, like others, that this would improve the road and reduce accidents. There was a more expansive pedestrian line and places for car parks, despite the narrowing of the street to reduce the speed, but the speed increased, and the cars increased. The pedestrian path is used for car parks, and children roam with their bicycles between the street and the pedestrian line as if they were in a public park. Motorcycles emit their exhaust and sound as if Harley Davidson groups were driving them. Sometimes they race with motorcycling shows on the street. Tractors intended for the mountains also roam the road with their annoying sounds. And if this is not enough, sometimes horses pass by this street.
And if this scene is surreal, closer to irony, it is accurate. It only expresses some reality of what is happening on this street daily—the tragic situation with terrifying accidents today.
Two days ago, a boy no less than eight were trampled between eight and nine in the evening, between a driver who should have been attentive and a child on a bicycle in the middle of the street at that time.
Today, hours ago, near the same place, another accident involving two cars entered each other and a tree—a little girl with a bruise on her face and a lot of screaming and terror.
As for the Israeli police, there is nothing wrong with it. The truth is that I am ashamed to write and talk about the subject, and yet I do not hesitate to try to deal with the issue as a “good citizen,” so I call the number 100 with every need that a catastrophe awaits, and this number is no longer adequate. They make contact and you, God.
In the incident two days ago, I went to the policeman in anger and blamed them, and he was the most he could tell me that I should go to the mass police. When I tried to understand what the mass police were, a friend told me, “It’s like village associations.” Why should I turn to the issue of a street that requires speed bumps, limit speed, and fine those who violate speeding, or those who have perforated exhalations, to the public police?
Isn’t this matter within the jurisdiction of the police and the municipality? Doesn’t the police inform the officials that there is a catastrophe in this street around the clock? Do we citizens have to put bumps in the road, for example?
Today, a car closed the entrance to the house, for example, hours of waiting for God’s sake, and the police intervened, and the owner of the vehicle appeared, who was astonished by our presence in the first place. “I apologize,” he said. Of course, I was ashamed and silent. Amid my anger and frustration with no ability to act, I thought if I hit that car or called the street guys to move the car and put it in the middle of the street, I thought of all the possible bad ideas. And I said to myself, how does one of us come to think of taking the law into his own hands?
While the accident across the street is at its height, ambulances pick up potential victims, and children on bicycles carelessly pass through the middle of the road. The bike runs alongside the big bus. Only an unfortunate accident makes us look around, remember our children, blame ourselves, review them for a moment and continue.
The most crucial thing in all of this is the absence of collective responsibility for safety on this street of Hell because the police, who do not care, cannot be relied upon. It only comes when disaster strikes. I say they interfere with catastrophe. But is a catastrophe required?
This street solution consists, first of all, of placing bumps on the road. Or the most important thing is to put more traffic lights. The speed in such a residential street, even if it is crowded with shops, cannot be allowed to be more than 30-50.
I do not know if I should say that the police should increase their presence to deter violators, whether at speed or those who use bicycles and others without helmets and on the street? Or mothers and fathers pay more attention to their children. Why would a child use a bike without a helmet? What are children doing in the streets at night on bikes?
Should the police intervene for the sake of the cars that roam the streets with perforated exfoliators? Or should young people have morals and social responsibility by not disturbing and exposing themselves and the people around them to danger?
I do not know who to address this article to, as no municipality cares about the actions that make us look like backward barbarians, as if it is normal for this state of barbarism in the streets. Young men at cars throwing seeds and leaving behind bottles of drinks and their leftovers. They smoke as if they were in a coffee shop. Loud, no-nonsense music and deadly hustle. Perforated exfoliators emit toxins, polluting the atmosphere and the environment and endangering the lives of pedestrians, drivers, and those sitting in their homes.
Spreading awareness is like spreading barley in front of birds of prey at a time of drought. Talking with young people puts you on the target of ridicule. Drugs are as common as energy drinks whose cans fill the street corners. The smell of hashish and God knows what is being smoked makes the place look like a drug poker, but there is no ceiling in a cave under the sky.