The “Unity Campaign” OneVoice Palestine (OVP) launched during the Gaza war was important for many reasons, but two stand out to me. First, OVP publically called for an immediate end to the Gaza war in a sea of loud voices calling for its continuation. Second, we asked Palestinians to unite and put their trust in the leadership and unity delegation in Cairo, lending a name to our campaign.
In Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, Qalqilia, Jericho, and Jenin we handed out 2,000 stickers with words of support for the delegation and talked with the people about how they felt. In Nablus, I sensed some mixed feelings about the best way to end the violence and the occupation. People were unsure: should we negotiate, even though 20 years of talks achieved nothing for us, or use armed resistance, knowing that thousands died or were injured, with a chance for more of the same?
Some people we talked to didn’t change their minds and were opposed to our support for negotiations. A taxi driver stopped us and asked about the stickers and said, “it’s a shame to keep say negotiations is the way to stop the war, we have to fight until the end!” Despite reactions like this, we continue to engage Palestinians on these issues and hope they will understand that the most pragmatic way to achieve their rights is through negotiations.
We found support in a member of the Fatah Central Committee, and we explained to him what the campaign aims to. He respected our work and told us, “as long as we have active youth like you we’ll be fine and I know it’s hard for you to work under these circumstances but don’t give up – we will support you and we cheer you to continue.”