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OneVoice Movement

OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution.

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Protesting Israeli Land Confiscation With Palestinian Roots

The land near the village of Beit Oula, north of Hebron, is a hot-bed for Israeli settler attacks and land confiscations. Not long ago, the Israeli government issued permits to take more than 1,500 dunams of agricultural land from the area, making the majority of those lands fully isolated behind the wall on the Israeli side.

To combat this and assert Palestinian rights to their own land, OneVoice Palestine (OVP) and 150 youth activists and community members made a powerful statement on November 15, planting 200 olive trees to protest the confiscation and expansion of settlements.

Due to security concerns, OVP staff discussed canceling the event, but decided to carry on with the activity to emphasize the importance of non-violent activism and promote popular peaceful resistance among young Palestinians. Safety was paramount during the activity.

“Nothing can stop us from dreaming of establishing our state on the 1967 borders,” said Fayez. “We will continue the struggle to achieve our dream of self-determination.”

Samer Makhlouf, Executive Director of OVP, added that the initiative comes several days after the passing of the late Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat.

“The declaration of independence represents a quantum leap in the struggle of Palestinians against the occupation and has put Palestine on the world’s map,” said Makhlouf. “It emphasizes our legitimate rights of liberation, dignity, and self-determination. This activity is a clear message from the Palestinian youth that the occupation must not remain cheap and Israel must pay the price of freedom as our people continue the legitimate struggle to achieve the dream of an independent Palestinian state.”

For many young volunteers, the initiative made a huge impact. OVP’s youth leader Ahmad from Halhoul village was very excited to be part of a community that supports non-violent activism.

“I am glad I showed up today,” said Ahmad, “because being here with all these people from different religions and backgrounds shows that we are on the right track toward ending the occupation.”

The activity also brought the local farming community closer with OVP’s activists. Youth leaders and staff members shared stories with the farmers about the land and the harvest season. The farmers were grateful for our help. They thanked us and wished we will visit more often, and OVP promised it will.

It was clear that this experience will remain in the hearts of our youth leaders for days to come. While the small group of volunteers from Hebron who, despite their concerns, marched with OVP that day, the truth remains: OVP faces its biggest challenge to promote non-violent activism since the recent Israeli war in Gaza. What lies ahead will take courage, determination, and just the right amount of hope. 

18 November 2014 See Post

OneVoice Condemns Recent Despicable Attacks

The OneVoice Movement is united in its condemnation of recent despicable attacks and the dangerous cycle of violence that risks enveloping the region. Attacks and provocations at synagogues or at the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif are by their very nature designed to play on peoples’ worst fears and aggravate religious and communal tensions in a city that Christians, Jews, and Muslims are fated to share. Moderate Israelis and Palestinians must use their power to seize the agenda from the extremists and deliver what majorities on both sides want and what is necessary for peace to prevail: an end to occupation and conflict through the two-state solution.
 
18 November 2014 See Post

Politics, Economics, & Activism Align at OneVoice Israel’s “Peace Pays Off?” Conference

What is the economic cost of Israel’s conflict with Palestine and the larger Arab world? Can the Israeli economy – and society – survive the bloated defense budget, the flow of funds toward settlements, and the increasingly significant blows to Israel's image on the world stage as a result of the ongoing occupation?

These were the central questions at OneVoice Israel’s “Peace Pays Off?” conference at the Einav Center in Tel Aviv on Thursday, November 13. 

Over 500 Israelis packed the auditorium to hear political heavyweights like Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog, and former Shin Bet chief Yaacov Peri speak to these pressing issues. Mohammed Darawshe, OneVoice Co-Founder and Director Planning, Equality and Shared Society at Givat Haviva; U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro; Meretz Leader MK Zehava Galon;  journalists Ben Caspit and Narhum Barnea; and many others also spoke.

“We are isolated and cut off,” Livni told Barnea. “I used to think investing in settlements and in the periphery doesn’t contradict – I was wrong. Money for settlements at the expense of developing towns is throwing money in the trash. We must create a process to decrease flames and go back into dialogue and negotiations with the Arab world and with the Palestinians.”

Livni’s statement complemented the presentation by the AIX Group, a joint Israeli-Palestinian think tank, which revealed its new findings that the conflict costs Israel between 7% and 13% of its GDP and that 15% of Israelis’ income is spent on security.

OVI Executive Director Polly Bronstein summed up the conference: “There is no short cut: the conflict is costing us a fortune, both economically and socially, and until we resolve it, we can never be the exemplar-state we want to be.”

Behind the scenes, in the lobby, and throughout the Einav Center’s halls, OVI staff, activists, and volunteers mingled with the public and spoke to OVI’s current initiatives, such as “Peace Pays Off at Home,” “Peace Pays Off at the Bar,” and the Knesset Fellowship Program. OneVoice activists Shay Gal and Michal Katoshevski called for conference attendees to join the movement by participating in an event in their community.

It was clear that some people came in support of peace but were unsure about the peace process, exemplifying the skepticism that is pervasive on both sides of the Green Line. “Can we trust the Arabs to build a stable democracy?” wondered a local man from Tel Aviv. “I just don’t know.”

Despite this uncertainty, vibes of positivity flowed from many attendees.

“It’s refreshing to hear people speaking so sanely about the conflict,” said Adit from Tel Aviv. “I’m so happy I came,” said another attendee. “I feel inspired. I’m staying for the second half of the conference, and I want to learn more about how I can get involved with OneVoice. I would definitely come to another conference like this.”

“Even though I find myself on the verge of despair sometimes, I won’t give up no matter what,” said OneVoice activist Ataret Horowitz. “One of the most important things is my passion for OneVoice. I hope that living as an advocate for the cause of peace will inspire others to take a stand.”

The conference presented a much needed message to the Israeli public: that peace pays off, both financially and ethically. Attendees left galvanized toward the cause of peace and with practical ideas about how they can support the two-state solution between Palestine and Israel.

“It’s been hard work,” said Anat Goichman, Jerusalem Regional Director, “but I think the event was a great success. A lot of people came out and showed a lot of interest in the conference and in OneVoice. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of this.”

For  more images from the conference, please see our gallery or Facebook pages.

OneVoice Israel recruitment booth outside the Einav center.

Tzipi Livni talks settlements with Narhum Barnea.

Peri and Caspit speak to the economics of peace.

Packed house at the Einav Center.

OVI activists

OVI staff, volunteers, and activists working the conference.

 

Eric Canosa is a OneVoice Israel intern.

Photo credit: Dafna Talmon

17 November 2014 See Post

OneVoice Gaza and Israel Directors Talk Challenges & Opportunities for Peace on London Tour

It is simultaneously a very difficult and important time for OneVoice - when hopes for peace look slim, our work is most needed. We are better positioned than any other organization to make this happen due to our unique parallel structure, and we will not be deterred by the recent escalation in violence.

Ezzeldeen Masri, Executive Director of OneVoice Gaza spoke these words during the October 15-24 OneVoice Europe autumn tour. He and Tal Harris, Former Director of OneVoice Israel met with 334 people at nearly 30 events and meetings to outline the difficulties they encounter in their respective societies and what OneVoice is doing to push forward a two-state solution and an end to conflict.

Two of the biggest events came from the Jewish and Muslim communities. Alyth Synagogue in North West London brought 104 guests on October 19, and the House of Lords’ Conservative Muslim Forum, where we could only offer seats to 65 of the 105 people who had applied, took place the next day.

At the House of Lords, Lord (Mohamed) Sheikh, one of Britain’s most senior Muslim political figures, spoke about his long time support for OneVoice. He was joined by Lord (Andrew) Stone, Lord (Raymond) Hylton, and MP Gavin Barwell. All stressed the need to act promptly otherwise the viability of a two-state solution is in danger of slipping away.

Tal described his own journey to becoming an activist. Carrying books back to the university library in Tel Aviv one day, he saw a OneVoice poster that asked: ‘what are you willing to do to end the conflict?’ Tal attended a seminar and went on to make the movement his career. The more visible options for nonviolence, the greater their potential to reach someone who can act on them. 

Ezz spoke about his experiences in Gaza during past conflicts that have killed many of his family members and friends. He described confronting Hamas members on his property and his fears about his diabetic son’s insulin supplies running out during periods of war this past summer.

Ezz’s story showed how difficult the compromises that have to be made are, and is testament to the bravery of activists who continue their work in such emotionally fraught situations. Ezz described how his mother initially found it difficult to accept that he was advocating not the “right to return” that she believed in, but right for refugees to be re-housed within Palestine’s own borders when it becomes a state. It took her some time to accept his point of view, but  she is now a strong supporter of both  OneVoice and the two-state solution. Peace means compromise and it requires great patience.

10 November 2014 See Post

Violence or Peace? Israelis & Palestinians Must Choose

The renewed clashes in Jerusalem and across Israel and Palestine once again prove that individual actions can have a very negative influence on a very tense situation.

And yet, our brave Israeli and Palestinian activists are working to promote nonviolence. Collectively, their efforts can motivate their peers and wider groups of people to push their leaders to reach agreement on lasting peace through two states.

Join this effort by supporting us during the Skoll Social Entrepreneurs Challenge on Crowdrise.

Our first week is complete, and we raised over $120,000 thanks to all those who gave during our launch – you are instrumental to our success!

There’s still plenty of time to give and give again. Week 2 is here, and there is strength in numbers…

*Bonus Challenge 2: Skoll will award an additional $5,000 to the top 20 organizations with the most number of unique gifts…no matter the amount!*

  • So why not donate your $10 lunch to fund travel expenses for a OneVoice Youth Leader to promote non-violence and the two-state solution in his or her community?
  • Perhaps rethink that movie night and spare $16 for one day of high-level training for an activist in conflict resolution and effective grassroots mobilization skills?

If everyone donated a little part of their weekly routine, we can win this Week 2 Challenge.

Your gift would fund more outreach and campaigns, like the “Wake Up! What is Your Role?” initiative in Palestine and national roundtable events in Israel, designed to mobilize Israelis and Palestinians to build the future they deserve.

Time is of the essence and your generous support will make a difference, and remember…

04 November 2014 See Post

007 Speaks!

Best do as 007 says and support us today!

29 October 2014 See Post

OneVoice’s Skoll Crowdrise Challenge Starts NOW!

The next 6 weeks provide us with a HUGE opportunity to sustain our vital work of mobilizing everyday Israelis and Palestinians to challenge conventional wisdom that a two-state solution is unachievable.

For the second year, we are honored to participate in the Skoll Social Entrepreneurs Challenge. The Challenge is a fundraising campaign on Crowdrise launched by the Skoll Foundation in partnership with The Huffington Post, and we are competing against other organizations—and racing against the clock—to raise funds and secure matching prize funding from the competition.

During last year’s Challenge, we raised over $300,000 and with your help we aim to raise even more this year. Our activists in Israel and Palestine are conducting outreach in new ways through bold campaigns, but for them to have their intended impact, we need help from supporters like you.

As Skoll challenges us, we challenge YOU to take part. Why?

  • There are countless chances to give and surprise challenges that will double or even TRIPLE your gift.
  • It’s an easy way to be a supporter and it only takes a few mouse clicks.
  • We can do more to support our Israeli and Palestinian activists to mobilize more moderate voices to contest the extremists.

This week, if we raise $3,500, we will get $1,500 in prize funding. That means that every gift you give this week will unlock a match—but only if we make it to our $3,500 goal.

friend, we’ll update you throughout the challenge as we meet various milestones. In the meantime, check out our Crowdrise page and start the avalanche of support. We cannot do this without you!

Marc Ginsberg, CEO

P.S. Please share our challenge with your networks and friends on Facebook, Twitter, and through email. The number—not just the amount—of gifts also counts toward prizes!

27 October 2014 See Post

One Drink, Two States: OVI Makes Peace a Socializing Must

Like many 20 and 30 somethings, young Israelis are frequent patrons of the after-work social scene. It is a casual environment where they can discuss anything and everything.

And that extends to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As part of OneVoice Israel’s mission to reach young Israeli centrists, the message of a two-state solution can now be heard in happy hour conversations around the country.

OVI’s first “Peace Pays Off at the Bar”  - an expansion of "Peace, It Also Pays Off!" - took place at Tel Aviv’s The Little Prince on October 6. Over 70 young professionals packed bar to hear Col. (Ret.) Miri Eisin, a former Israeli communications officer, speak to the UN General Assembly speeches by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli relations with the Palestinians, and the media’s portrayal of the conflict. Each “Peace Pays Off at the Bar” event will feature an expert speaker to kick off the conversation. 

Col. Eisin encouraged Israelis to learn about the other side’s perspective of the conflict, saying that “it’s possible to achieve a peace agreement, even though there is a lack of faith between the two parties, as long as you learn the other side’s narrative.”

Dan Shika, OVI’s new central regional director and organizer of the event, was fired up with the turnout and the speaker, particularly Col. Eisin's speech on the Israeli flag.

“[Col. Eisin] asked everyone what the Israeli flag meant to the Israeli people. Then she asked the crowd about what they thought their Arab neighbors perceived the Israeli flag to represent, and her response surprised many people, including me.

“She said a lot of Arabs, including Palestinians, see the Israeli flag as a symbol of Israel’s aspiration to colonize the Middle East between the Tigris, Euphrates, and the Nile – to become the historic Kingdom of Israel. Obliviously it’s not true, but the analogy works to help one look at the conflict from a view other than your own, which was the point of the discussion.”

Dan said that everyone in attendance enjoyed the event, so much so that more are planned in the near future, at bars and in activists’ homes for “Peace Pays Off at Home” socials. 

Aaron Pilcher is OneVoice Israel's Fall 2014 intern.

Col. (Ret.) Eisin at The Little Prince, Oct. 6, 2014.

*Thumbnail - OVI Central Regional Coordinator Dan Shika addressing the crowd.

21 October 2014 See Post

Olive Harvests Become Campaign Cornerstone for OVP

You can say that olive oil runs in the veins of every Palestinian. The small fruit is a vital part of Palestine's economy, its culture, and its people.

As a part of OneVoice Palestine's "The Land is Ours" campaign, activists are coordinating several olive harvesting activities with local Palestinian farmers in the West Bank in the face of Israeli settler violence and vandalism. 

On October 15, OneVoice Palestine collaborated with the Governorate of Salfeet to organize an olive harvest activity south of the city in the village of Dier Istya. The Palestinian National Security Forces along with several local organizations, including the Wall Resistance Commission and the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, participated in this event.

Almost 100 participants joined the activity to highlight the importance of the harvest for Palestinians as a form of popular resistance against the Israeli occupation. Salfeet is surrounded by three major settlements and local farmers are harassed by settlers on daily basis, burning trees and threatening farmers with lands close to the separation wall.

Mr. Imad Abu Baker, Governor of Salfeet, shared a few words with the activists and encouraged young Palestinians to participate in non-violent activities to protest Israeli policies of building settlements in the West Bank.

“These sort of activities embody non-violent resistance on the ground, and those trees will remain here with deep roots in our land, like the nobility of our people,” he said.

On October 18, OneVoice chapters from Jericho, Nablus, and Ramallah joined local farmers in the village of Ebbwien near Ramallah. OVP’s staff arrived early on the scene and coordinated with the village counsel to bring more volunteers to help with olive harvest.

Thirty young volunteers from OVP joined 15 farmers and their families for hours helping with the olive harvest and sharing chants and singing folk songs, a tradition that remains linked to the harvest season in Palestine. Local media joined OneVoice throughout the activity and spoke to some of our volunteers about non-violent activism. 

“Olive trees are a big part of our culture,” said OneVoice youth leader Raya Fatayer to Wattan News. “The harvest season is a national event to celebrate our Palestinian traditions. We see Israeli violations against the olive trees in many areas in Palestine, but we will continue to work with local farmers to display solidarity; this land will remain Palestinian.”

More images can be found in our gallery.

Arabic media coverage of the olive harvest activies:

Wasim Almasri is OneVoice Palestine's Communications Officer.

OneVoice chapters and international activists with the farmers in Ebbwien in a display of solidarity during the olive harvest season.

20 October 2014 See Post

New Regional Coordinators Wrap Up First Week at OneVoice Israel

As part of OneVoice Israel’s efforts to expand its reach and message of two-states across the country, four full-time regional coordinators joined the team in late September, giving OVI a permanent foothold across Israel.

Nimrod Barnea (Northern Israel), Anat Goihman (Jerusalem), Shiran Meir (Southern Israel), and Dan Shika (Central Israel) recently wrapped up their first week on the job and cannot be more excited to get to work. All of the new regional coordinators are experienced volunteers and political activists; check out their bios on the Israel team tab. They will be the point of contact for all activists and events in their respective regions, and their goal is to go beyond outreach to the traditional university demographic, targeting religious, political, ethnic, and cultural communities as well.

There were a lot of positive things to say about their first week. Dan, the central coordinator, said his first week with OneVoice was “challenging, but at the same time, I felt inspired and privileged to be working with an organization promoting peace.” Shiran, the south’s coordinator, described her first week as “different from my previous work experiences, [but] I felt very welcomed and supported in every way by the OneVoice staff.” 

Their first event as regional coordinators was a rally in Jerusalem outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in support of fellow peace organization, “Other Voice,” which seeks to end violence in Gaza by having volunteers from surrounding Israeli towns promote more peaceful contact between Israelis and Gazans. Activists from OneVoice also joined in, calling for a permanent peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.

The coordinators came away from the rally with new connections and ways of promoting OneVoice’s message to the public. Nimrod, the northern coordinator, said his experience at the rally, “standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow activists working on waking up the Israeli public and government and have our voices heard on this very pressing issue was exciting.”

Anat, the Jerusalem coordinator, described her experience at the rally as “a very positive one.  I saw a lot of similarities between OneVoice and the other activist groups, but I also found that those similarities also strengthened the differences between us. I now see through my time spent with OneVoice that it is the most relevant movement in the peace camp.” 

Aaron Pilcher is OneVoice Israel's Fall 2014 intern.

Jerusalem Rally

"Other Voice" activist holds a sign that says: "No to bomb sirens – yes to peace."

Thumbnail: OVI Jerusalem Coordinator Anat Goihman and local kids hold a sign: "When there is no peace, war comes."

06 October 2014 See Post

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