Ramallah, April 28, 2012—From a village near Jenin that borders on the 1967 line, OneVoice Palestine youth activists and locals released into Israel hundreds of helium balloons carrying the text of the Arab Peace Initiative on Saturday, drawing attention toward this historic opportunity.
Hundreds of locals, wearing flag caps of countries supporting the regional peace plan, participated in the activity, which was co-sponsored by Jenin’s governor and the municipality, to mark the document’s tenth anniversary. They called on all Israelis to pressure their politicians into accepting the initiative as a framework for serious regional negotiations to achieve the two-state solution and end the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jenin Deputy Governor Ahmad al-Qassam, Minister of Prisoner Affairs Ashraf al-Ajrami, Fatah spokesman Mahmoud Labadi, and other municipal officials also attended the headline-grabbing event.
“We're urging the Israeli public to demand from their government a real response to the Arab Peace Initiative,” said Samer Makhlouf, executive director of OneVoice Palestine. “The document has never been withdrawn or rejected by any Arab state, but despite its apparent resilience, we cannot expect it stay on the table forever.”
Exactly 10 years ago, the 22 Arab League member states came together in Beirut to propose a peace plan to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Arab Peace Initiative offered a comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the normalization of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It represented an abrupt about-face, from the League's refusal to engage with Israel to the potential for a new era of regional stability and cooperation. While not an end-point for negotiations, the document sets a positive new starting point.
Unfortunately, Israel never accepted the Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for peace discussions. Among Ariel Sharon’s 14 reservations to the 2003 Road Map, reservation #10 explicitly rejected the Arab Peace Initiative. Since then, it has lain dormant.
“Accepting the Arab Peace Initiative as a framework for serious regional negotiations is a far better approach than outright rejection wrapped in unsupportable assertions that Israel has done everything it can for peace over the past 64 years and the Palestinians have only been obstructionist,” said OneVoice CEO Howard Sumka.
The event is part of OneVoice Palestine's campaign, launched in February, demanding the Israeli government to halt its settlement policy and return to negotiations on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative. From tree plantings in Hebron and Bethlehem and distribution of flyers and bumper stickers across the West Bank, to an online campaign with banners on top local news sites – OneVoice Palestine is creating momentum for the peace plan.
Separately, OneVoice Israel is complementing the effort though parallel action, igniting conversations about the Arab Peace Initiative across their eight university chapters, from Haifa to Sderot. Next month, they will mobilize people in the heart of Tel Aviv, bringing prominent public figures to make soap-box speeches while a giant ice cube containing the Arab Peace Initiative text slowly melts away. Working with the growing Two-State Solution Caucus, they will then deliver their message loudly in the Knesset.
We depend on donors like you to support our vital work to empower everyday Israelis and Palestinians to make the two-state solution a reality – showing them that peace is indeed possible and within reach. In furtherance of its mission, OneVoice conducts and supports charitable, educational, and advocacy-based projects and activities. The Movement is supported by PeaceWorks Foundation, a Section 501(c)(3) charitable organization, PeaceWorks Action, Inc., a Section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, and other individuals, charitable institutions, and advocacy organizations across the globe. Together with your important financial support, we are able to give our Youth Leaders the tools to take action and create a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
The payment dropdown tabs to the right provide you with the option to donate to either the PeaceWorks Foundation or PeaceWorks Action, Inc. Please note that while contributions to the PeaceWorks Foundation are tax deductible, those to PeaceWorks Action, Inc. are not.
Whether you are donating to the PeaceWorks Foundation or PeaceWorks Action, Inc., know that your contributions are the important difference between the current toxic status quo and a proud Israel standing side-by-side in peace and security with a Palestinian state.
To make recurring donations, click here .
PeaceWorks Foundation’s CFC code is 48097 .
*OneVoice Europe is a registered U.K. charity, separate from the PeaceWorks Foundation and PeaceWorks Action, Inc. Its charity code is 1114114.
The Big Give gives UK charities and non-profits the space for crowdsourcing funds for their organizations, and is OneVoice Europe’s online funding portal.
Donate to OneVoice US through Paypal, its online funding portal.
Please contact Deputy Director Mara Lee at email@example.com (212)-897-3985, ext. 147
Please contact Executive Director John Lyndon at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)208-948-5221
Please contact Deputy Director Mara lee at email@example.com or (212)-897-3985, ext. 147
For donations by check: Payable to the PeaceWorks Network Foundation
PeaceWorks Network Foundation
P.O. Box 1577-OCS | New York | NY 10113 | USA
For Donations by cheque: Payable to OneVoice Europe
The Arc, 89 Worship Street
LONDON | EC2A 2BF | UK
Join Our TeamJob/Internship Listings