Inception of OneVoice
Citizen Negotiations, Building a Grassroots Network
What Are You Willing to Do?
One Million Voices to End the Conflict
Enough is Enough
Saying What Needs to Be Said
Building Grassroots Support and Connecting with Political Leadership
At OneVoice, we work in a two-pronged approach: empower and elevate the voices of the grassroots and serve as a bridge to the political elite to help influence policy. If we create positive facts on the ground - tangible, undeniable evidence that the status quo is neither sufficient nor accepted - it opens the floodgates for changes welcomed in Israeli and Palestinian society.
With support for a two-state solution dropping due to widespread disillusion, our work in Palestine has never been more crucial, and our impact has never been more widespread.
Throughout the year, OneVoice Palestine's activists embraced their role by leading community initiatives to transform frustration and hopelessness through non-violent activism. OVP pushed for national reconciliation and a two-state solution that will end the occupation, resolve all final status issues based on international resolutions, establish an independent Palestinian state, and end all claims.
Keeping people engaged is the key to success, and OVP's 2012 campaigns illustrated the creative way in which everyday people can actively have a role in realizing their goals.
To support state-building efforts, OVP focused on the land threatened by Israeli settlement expansion, organizing high profile tree plantings throughout the year. From Bethlehem and surrounding areas to Beit Oula, hundreds of people, scores of partner organizations, as well as local politicians, came together to plant thousands of trees. These trees will be part of the very first Palestinian Peace Park, demonstrating the commitment of OneVoice youth to exercise their role and responsibility to build the two-state solution. OVP branded these efforts as part of a new campaign entitled Dorak or "Your Role," which will continue and grow in 2013.
At the beginning of 2012, OneVoice set itself the goal of expanding and deepening partnerships and collaborations. Particularly as part of our robust Youth Leadership Program, OVP's success in this area has been striking, and can be seen on both the macro and micro levels. Through partners and collaborations, OVP has engaged and trained over 250 new activists. Jordan-based Generations for Peace and OVP continued their cross-trainings and youth events, combining peace activism and leadership skills with sports activities. Mohammad Asideh, OVP's outreach coordinator and a GFP volunteer, was presented with the Generations For Peace Samsung Award for Impact by HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein of Jordan for all the work he's done for his community.
Lastly, especially given the recent surge of violence, our work in Gaza has taken on renewed importance. After reestablished activities in Gaza over the last year, OVP Gaza has seen a rise in grassroots interest in the territory with over 350 young Gazans participating in 15 introductory sessions and seminars.
Against a frustrating backdrop of political inertia, OneVoice Israel's activists recognized their role and mobilized in a different city each week, grabbing the attention of Israelis in eye-catching and highly visible ways.
During several demonstrations in the height of the Israeli summer, youth leaders donned heavy winter coats to symbolize the need to freeze the settlement policy and to unfreeze peace talks. Youth leaders, staff members, politicians and more took part in a "freeze mob" in Jerusalem's Zion Square to show the need to restart negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian leadership.
In an unprecedented partnership with the J14, social protest movement, OVI created an "ice wall" to protest the cost of living prices and the amount of funds supporting the occupation. This high profile event engaged hundreds of Israelis and served to reframe the way some have begun to talk about the issues. Moreover, youth leaders organized to address the growing number of illegal Israeli outposts increasing in the West Bank on several occasions during the year.
OVI has continued to bridge the gap between the people and the political leaders. The Two-State Solution Caucus, which OneVoice helped to create, served, and continues to serve as a key forum to push for political progress. Over the last year, the Caucus provided a platform for OneVoice to demonstrate the urgency of breaking the status quo. OneVoice gathered foremost experts to warn that the Palestinian Authority was on the verge of financial collapse. OVI showed the politicians that an ailing Palestinian economy and stalled peace talks have a deep negative impact on Israel's interests in the short and long term.
The International Engagement Program (IEP) (U.S.) and the Outreach and Education Program (O&E) (OneVoice Europe) targeted American and European audiences, calling for their greater participation in resolving the conflict. OneVoice views the international community as an important body that can amplify the voices of moderate Israelis and Palestinians.
In order to leverage political support during the presidential election season, IEP asked Americans to tell President Barack Obama to prioritize the two-state solution and a return to negotiations through a petition that was disseminated to our networks and beyond. During the IEP's tours across the United States, a diverse array of college students and community members around the country signed on to OneVoice's message.
Through a parallel petition in the UK, OVE targeted Foreign Secretary William Hague through their network of supporters. OVE made clear that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office must support young Israeli and Palestinian activists, support a settlement freeze by Israel and unity among Palestinian factions, and prioritize Middle East peace.