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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12 November 2014

Join us Wednesday, 12 November for light fare and drinks at the Scandinavia House as we provide an insider's update on developments in the Middle East and outlook for a two-state solution in the wake of the latest Gaza conflict.

Featured keynote speakers:

Aaron David Miller, Distinguished Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center, DC

Rula Jebreal, Foreign Policy Analyst

Couvert: $150, includes a $100 tax deductible contribution to OneVoice

Where: Scandinavia House, 58 Park Ave, NY, NY, 10016

To RSVP & Purchase Tickets: Click Here

Or email: Miriam Awadallah; 212-897-3985, ext. 267

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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

OVP launches “The Land is Ours” Campaign

OneVoice Palestine (OVP) launched “The Land is Ours” campaign today to encourage young Palestinians to participate in non-violent resistance to end the occupation, realize the two-state solution, and establish an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The campaign builds on the 2012 mobilization effort – “The Land is Ours, Leave Us Be” – which addressed the expansion of settlements by planting hundreds of trees in a number of areas threatened by confiscation.

“The aftermath of the events that accompanied the Israeli attack on Gaza confirmed the importance of strengthening public participation in political life,” said OVP Executive Director Samer Makhlouf. “It is very urgent to start dealing with the aftermath of the war on Gaza as there have been some serious setbacks to the Palestinian roadmap and national agenda adopted by the PLO. The political and diplomatic effort of the Palestinian leadership to achieve the two-state solution must: be matched by massive activities on the ground to protect Palestinians’ national rights, unite all Palestinians behind one political agenda carried out by the PLO, and reach a just and comprehensive peace agreement that preserves our Palestinian rights.”

Watch OVP's "The Land is Ours" campaign launch video.

26 September 2014 See Post

Three Days in Seoul: Summit Unites Leaders for World Peace

I was completely overwhelmed. I have never experienced anything close to this and I could see the same expression in the eyes of the people walking beside me into the Olympic stadium in Seoul…Thousands of voices were chanting at once: “WE WANT PEACE, WE NEED PEACE.” I thought at that very moment that we were one step closer to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. >>Watch Wasim's WARP Summit Speech!

My colleague Mohammad Asideh and I had the privilege to not only represent OneVoice, but Palestine as well, at the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Summit (WARP) in Seoul, South Korea from September 17 – 19.

The summit is a gathering of secular and religious world leaders who are intent on discussing ways to achieve world peace. The summit was organized in the hopes of creating a platform for dialogue between community leaders on national, cultural, spiritual, and ethnic levels.

OneVoice was among 205 organizations participating in the summit. While the majority of representatives I met either worked for humanitarian organizations and/or are members of peace forums or youth groups, there were also hundreds of community leaders from around the globe, as well as business and religious leaders, public figures, and politicians. Mohammad and I were engaged in a global discussion on conflict resolution and peace building. The event started with an opening ceremony in Seoul’s Olympic stadium with almost 100,000 people in attendance.

Earlier that day, we were informed that the opening ceremony will take place inside a stadium, but I could never imagine this huge number of people standing and cheering for us, representatives of the world’s youth organizations. Thousands of voices were chanting at once: “WE WANT PEACE, WE NEED PEACE.” I thought at that very moment that we were one step closer to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Many of the world’s leaders spoke during the opening ceremony, calling to mobilize youth to start building peace in areas traumatized by conflicts. It was truly an inspiring event for many of the young representatives who attended the summit seeking to contribute to world peace.

[Text Box: Leaders from different religions preparing to sign the first unity of religion agreement in Seoul] The second day of the summit featured speeches by religious leaders about peace and tolerance for the greater good of mankind. I do not recall seeing so many representatives of the all world’s religions in one place. The topic of religions uniting for global peace was discussed and the leaders signed the first ever unity of religion agreement. The agreement will be presented to the United Nations in the months to come.

The last event of the WARP Summit was held on September 19. I was asked, along with three other representatives from other youth organizations, to speak about my vision for peace. Around 10,000 people were attending the event in Seoul’s Peace Plaza. I was humbled by the encouraging words I received after my speech, which you can watch on our YouTube page. It delights me to know that I raised awareness and generated even the smallest of momentum toward ending the occupation, and therefore the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It was a unique experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

The third day ended with the walk of peace in the Peace Plaza in Seoul. The guests and volunteers who joined us during the summit walked side by side chanting for world peace and calling for an end to all forms of violence. It was not the longest of walks, but it was definitely a giant step forward in uniting peace makers for a common cause.

My trip to Seoul is over. I am back in Palestine with my wife and daughters. Once I crossed the borders and stamped my passport at the Israeli customs I remembered why the work of young political activists is more important than ever. The feelings of insecurity and hopelessness haunted me for the past year. I can see skepticism in the eyes of my people every time the word peace is mentioned. There is no escape of the bitter reality of the occupation, but for thousands of young Palestinians, organizations like OneVoice continue to provide a platform to protest this reality and build consensus about the two-state solution based on a just peace agreement. The World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Summit in Seoul inspired me to continue working for a better future for my children, a future where Palestinians have their rights, freedom, independence, and peace with their neighbors.

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” - Albert Einstein

*Wasim Almasri is OneVoice Palestine's Communications Officer.

WARP Summit 2014 OneVoice Palestine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thousands of people gathered in the Peace Plaza in Seoul in the third day of the summit

26 September 2014 See Post

OneVoice Palestine Expands Reach to Palestinian Communities in September

OneVoice Palestine (OVP) branched out to several communities in Palestinian society this month, engaging with religious pilgrims on their way to Mecca and training women and young students in political efficacy and leadership.

Working in collaboration with Ali Al-Khateeb of the Union of Charitable Societies of Jenin, and Sahar Qawasmeh, the General Director of the Office of Roles for Social Change Association of Hebron (ADWAR), OVP staff trained 20 local women in Jenin on proposal and project writing, specifically addressing the issues of poverty and unemployment.  The September 11 training, a part of OVP’s Women of Influence Program, was the final in a series of advanced seminars that also included political, leadership, and communication skills.

Starting September 14—and lasting three days—OVP activists, along with Jericho’s Can’an Society for Community Development volunteers, assisted pilgrims at the Karameh Border (Allenby Bridge) crossing as they made Hajj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  An astounding 4,200 individuals were told about OneVoice’s mission and vision for Palestine, and our volunteers stressed to the pilgrims the need for solidarity across the faiths in the Palestinian quest for independence.

OVP’s Alaa’ Al-Salous designed an intitiative to instill values of democracy and leadership in young students, at the Saint Joseph school in Nablus on September 18.  The students, forming their own Student Council, received extensive training in how to campaign and participate in a democratic election, and 17 students were ultimately selected from 60 candidates in grades 6 to 12.

Josh Rutstein is the 2014 OneVoice US Fellow.

24 September 2014 See Post

OneVoice Europe Student Program Focuses on Extremism in the UK

Twenty students from across the United Kingdom spent September 8-10 in London to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and extremism’s implications on British society during OneVoice Europe’s Student Residential Program.

Now in its third year, the Student Residential Program engages young people in educational workshops about the conflict and equips them with conflict resolution and leadership skills. The renewed peace process was last year’s theme, and unfreezing negotiations was the focus in 2012.

The students had an opportunity to hear from a number of experts who explored complex issues surrounding the conflict and its global impact. On September 9, the students visited Reed Smith’s offices, where they Skyped with Wasim Masri of OneVoice Palestine in Ramallah and Ayala Brilliant of OneVoice Israel in Tel Aviv, providing the students with a great opportunity to put a human face to stories they hear in the news.

In the afternoon, the group moved on to the House of Lords, where Maajid Nawaz, co-founder and chairman of counter-extremism think tank Quilliam; writer Antony Lerman of Independent Jewish Voices; Baroness Susan Garden, and John Lyndon, Executive Director of OneVoice Europe, provided the students with insights into the negative impact of regional extremism on the peace process and the role of extremist organizations in creating a climate of prejudice and fear. The speakers also offered their insight on the effectiveness of terrorism as a political weapon and the reactions of neighboring countries to the violence in Gaza.

Ibrahim Ali and Maggie Suissa, experts in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, respectively, spoke to the students about the vitriol spewed on UK campuses with the conflict – and recent Gaza War – stoking the flames. The contentious issue of BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) as a political tactic and its regional, local, and oftentimes personal effects was also raised, with perspectives and concerns of both sides being heard.

Overall, the program of events highlighted the fact that extremism affects everybody – a great way to illustrate OneVoice’s focus on the spectrum of moderates and extremists that exists within all communities – and emphasized the common ground shared by peace-seeking people everywhere.

Many students felt the narrative of the ‘other side’ had been illuminated for them, and that their understanding of the conflict had deepened. Perhaps most encouragingly, many participants also added that they intended to become more involved in relevant study or activism. The young people trained by OneVoice Europe are the British counterparts of our Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders; well-informed, sympathetic, and learning to negotiate toward a happier future.

Sharon Alsoodani is OneVoice Europe's Education Director

22 September 2014 See Post

‘Abbas, Not Hamas’ Campaign an OVI Success

The latest Gaza War opened the eyes of Israelis to a message, a message that we at OneVoice Israel carried and shared for years. What is it? That there are two sides on both sides of this conflict - the extremists and the moderates. And this war played out in the same way.

In the midst of Operation Protective Edge, we at OVI knew there was an opportunity for Israelis to choose the side of the moderates. The brave steps that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made in the beginning of the war – condemning violence – made it clear to most Israelis that there is a partner for the two-state solution on the other side, what we’ve said all along.

OVI decided to give the moderate public in Israel the platform to call for the two-state solution amidst this war, differentiating themselves from the extremists who would not see it happen.

We hung banners around Israel with the slogan, "An Agreement With Abbas – Not With Hamas," calling on the Israeli government not to negotiate with the extremists and thereby strengthen them, but to choose to empower the moderates like Abbas who speak out against violence and are look for a peaceful end to the conflict.

The results were very exciting! Our activists went out night after night to hang the banners in intersections and on bridges all over Israel. We had over 100 people approach us through our Facebook page asking for banners to hang outside their houses. On the social networks, the campaign was one of the highest-viewed and liked campaigns in the history of OVI. The activists felt that they were making a real difference, and they were. “Abbas, Not Hamas!” became a catch phrase in the Israeli media and social networks because of their hard work.

Roee Neuman is OneVoice Israel's Spokesman and Government Relations Director

10 September 2014 See Post

“Unity Campaign” asked Palestinians to support Gaza truce talks

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.”

09 September 2014 See Post

OneVoice’s statement on Israel’s recent land seizure announcement

The Government of Israel's illegal seizure of 1,000 acres of Palestinian land has no justification, represents an act of collective punishment against and further alienates Palestinians, and destroys the trust needed for a negotiated peace that will end the occupation and the conflict. As Prime Minister Netanyahu's public support dramatically declines, it is evident that this land grab is a cynical ploy to appease his right-wing critics in the face of universal international condemnation. The people of Israel should send an unmistakable message to their government that such illegal acts only serve to isolate Israel.

 
 
04 September 2014 See Post

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