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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28 April 2014

OneVoice at Temple Israel, 7pm, 477 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA

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OneVoice Europe trains London refugee workers on Middle East narratives

On April 2, OneVoice Europe Education Director Sharon Alsoodani ran a training session for Counselors at the Tavistock and Portman National Health Service Foundation Trust. The counselors work with refugees seeking to make their home in the UK. The refugees have a variety of perspectives on Middle East narratives, including about the UK’s involvement - both historically and in the present day. OVE sought to help the counselors understand the complexities surrounding various narratives, particularly of the Middle East. 

Alsoodani and a member of London’s Somali community ran the training session, where the group discussed the background, views, and involvement of refugees from a number of different countries with regards to conflict in Syria, Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and Kashmir, and British foreign policy related to those conflicts.

Particular emphasis was put on the need to encourage constructive and non-violent expressions of political activism within the British system so that UK citizens and residents from all backgrounds have a meaningful voice within our society. Examples of OneVoice’s grassroots political activities in Israel and Palestine were used to demonstrate how positive civil society empowerment can be, particularly among the youth, and how they could non-violently affect change. The group concluded that young immigrants who are making their home in our country should be guided and encouraged to participate politically and become an active and valued part of our society – which includes having a voice regarding Middle East issues. Participants gave feedback about how stimulating and informative the session had been.

“We are global citizens in the 21st Century - what happens in the Middle East affects us in Britain and vice-versa,” said Alsoodani. “We all have a responsibility to be informed and active citizens and to ensure that everyone in our democratic society has the opportunity to participate equally.”

17 April 2014 See Post

$1,175 for tuition or the conflict? OVI campaign asks Israelis where their money should go

In the last two weeks, OneVoice Israel activists set up stalls in Carmel Market in Tel Aviv and the Old City of Beer Sheva and unloaded giant checks marked with $1,175 with the “pay to the order of” line left blank. This is not a prize giveaway, and no one has won anything. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: $1,175 is the amount that the conflict costs every Israeli man, woman, and child each year.

This check initiative is part of OVI’s “Peace, It Also Pays Off” campaign, which asks middle class Israelis to consider how they would instead spend that money. Passersby from a variety of backgrounds enthusiastically signed their names and indicated what they would rather use that money for—tuition, rent, or other expenses. They all agreed that the conflict needs to end and that the money used to prolong it is better spent inside the Green Line.

While the amount itself may not seem that high at first blush, $1,175 is equal to one month’s rent or one semester of university tuition, which makes a difference to the working class in light of a growing poverty rate, a housing crisis, and other neglected social justice issues, meaning every penny counts. “Peace, It Also Pays Off” launched on April 2 and is a multi-platform campaign that also includes bus stop ads; a billboard on Ayalon Highway viewed of 660,000 drivers every day; and an extensive social media “hub on Facebook with infographics about the precise cost of the conflict, based on data from some of the most respected research institutions in Israel, including Netanya College, the Molad Center, and the Adva Center.

15 April 2014 See Post

OneVoice Palestine Land Day Event Draws Hundreds to Salfit Hill

Two-hundred people, including Fatah activists and residents of Salfit, joined 50 OneVoice Palestine volunteers in a Land Day initiative on Saturday, April 5, to support President Mahmoud Abbas’ petition for Palestine to join several international institutions.

The event took place in Abu Al-Zarab Hill located in the Salfit village of Yasuf – a constant target of vandalism and violence from nearby Israeli settlements. The participants used the event to promote Palestinian rights to the land and to statehood through a variety of artistic, peaceful activities.

Activists and representatives from local institutions planted trees on one side of the hill, while OVP volunteers brought people together to paint the Palestinian flag on a wall that faces the settlements.

“The settlers always come here, and [they] keep taking the Palestinian flag off from the hill,” said Salfit Governor Issam Abu Bakr, who, along with the Cultural Center for Abu Nabaa, co-sponsored the event. “However, the people from the region come back every time and put it in its place again because this is our land. This is Palestinian land.”

The initiative is part of OVP’s “Wake Up! What is Your Role?” campaign, which mobilizes Palestinians to end the occupation and the conflict through non-violent activism.

You can read more in the local, Arabic-language press coverage:

Rozan Hammoud is the Spring 2014 communications intern.

14 April 2014 See Post

Youth Leaders spread two-state message throughout US Midwest

As a young boy, Obada Shtaya threw rocks at Israeli jeeps and tanks during the Second Intifada. As he grew older, however, his desire for alternative means to end the occupation lead him to join OneVoice Palestine in 2010 after attending a town hall meeting in his hometown of Nablus.

“I am not saying OneVoice will liberate Palestine - we definitely need the leadership to talk to the people, inspire them, and unite them behind it,” Obada explained at a recent OneVoice-organized event at Oberlin College. “What we are doing is providing hope and skills to knowledgeable youth who are working to mobilize Palestinians in support of their leaders. We are keeping the conversation alive and we are keeping the fire on.”

Shtaya and Mattan Peretz (Israel) toured five U.S. academic institutions in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as part of our International Engagement Program (IEP) from February 24 to March 3. Oberlin College was one of their stops. 

“Advocating for Israel requires advocating for Palestine, and we are committed to defending the rights of both Jewish and Palestinian peoples to sovereignty and security in democratic, self-governing states,” said Adira Baum, Oberlin College J Street U Board member said, setting the stage for Obada and Mattan to reflect on their experiences growing up under the shadow of the conflict.

Mattan, from Jerusalem, described the frustration and apathy of thousands of Israelis after experiencing repetitive bombings and the failure of former peace talks.

“You could ask why I joined [OneVoice] - well I didn’t feel that the situation was normal. I didn’t feel it was sustainable,” Mattan said. “I was really impressed by the fact that it is a grassroots movement, and that the current situation does not guarantee Israel’s security, prosperity, or economic growth. On the contrary, it’s just an illusion, and we are just waiting for the next thing to drop.”

The Youth Leaders also addressed a packed town hall co-sponsored by J Street Pittsburgh and the National Council of Jewish Women at Rodef Shalom Congregation. The event was part of J Street’s national “2 Campaign,” to generate grassroots support for the two-state solution in the United States.

J Street Pittsburgh Co-Chair Malke Frank expressed her enthusiasm for Mattan’s and Obada’s hard work and perseverance. “Mattan and Obada…embody what two states for two peoples can look like,” she said.

In addition to their live events, Obada and Mattan took to the airwaves. Local NPR affiliate 90.5 WESA’s ‘Essential Pittsburgh’ spoke to the Youth Leaders about the mood on the ground in Israel and Palestine and why their work is important. You can listen to the interview here.

IEP organizes speaking tours across the United States and Europe to connect students and community leaders to Israelis and Palestinians, amplify our regional work, and build support for creative conflict resolution in the region.

*Rozan Hammoud is the Spring 2014 communications intern, and Ali Dinsmoor is the Spring 2014 IEP intern.

20 March 2014 See Post

Welcome to our new website

We would like to welcome you to our new website. We are currently in the process of updating the entire site with our Movement's history in the coming weeks. Please look around and explore.

To read our old blogs, please click here.

Make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube for constant news from the region!

17 March 2014 See Post

Siaseh Café: Coffee and politics in Palestine

Once a week, OneVoice Palestine activists gather over coffee. The brew is strong, much like the opinions of the Youth Leaders, who talk politics and the peace process in cafés across the West Bank. These Siaseh (or Politics) Cafés provide a forum wherein young Palestinians are able to debate their peers openly and evaluate decisions made by Palestinians leaders and the international community.

“We send the Youth Leaders a different topic from the news ahead of each session,” said Abdallah Hamarsheh, OVP’s Youth Leadership Training Program Director. “We also send invites to the Youth Leaders and ask them to bring friends who haven’t engaged in conversations with OneVoice in the past. The results are usually very interesting.”

Bringing different views to each conversation creates a unique discussion around Palestinian national interests and how the community addresses them. On one recent occasion in Nablus, activists discussed the ongoing negotiations with the Israelis and the role of the grassroots in reaffirming Palestinian national principles. While the majority showed ample support for non-violent activities, some questioned the prospects for progress in the window that remains for a final agreement. The activists questioned the sincerity of Israel’s participation in the negotiations in light of continued settlement construction in the West Bank and the recently proposed Knesset bill to annexbill the Jordan Valley.

“While the majority of participants support the two-state solution as a means to end the occupation and conflict, resolve the final status issues, and establish an independent Palestinian state, there is a common feeling of frustration among the participants,” said Ezzeldeen Masri, Director of OVP’s Gaza office. “More than 20 years have passed since the commencement of the peace process and yet Palestinians are not witnessing any progress.”

The Siaseh Cafés are part of OVP’s larger “Wake Up! What is Your Role?” campaign launched in November 2013. Through “Wake Up!” OVP is energizing the centrist, Palestinian mainstream to take their future into their own hands and support the negotiators. Through youth initiatives, TV and radio shows, town hall meetings, and issue-based discussions, the campaign aims to break the state of apathy about negotiations and demonstrate that non-violent resistance can be successful in securing Palestinian rights while connecting every day Palestinians to their leaders.

06 March 2014 See Post

OVP asks Palestinians to “Wake Up!” and change the status quo

OneVoice Palestine is taking to the streets of the West Bank and Gaza to bolster support for the peace process by emphasizing that everyday Palestinians have a part to play in ending the occupation and establishing an independent state.

The “Wake Up! What is Your Role?” campaign, launched last year in the midst of the U.S.-led negotiations spear-headed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, is energizing the centrist Palestinian mainstream to take their future into their own hands and support the Palestinian negotiators. To launch the campaign, hundreds of activists gathered in the Jordan Valley to raise a 1,000-meter banner stitched together by OVP chapters in Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jerusalem, and Jericho. Written on the banner were the core national principles that are the basis for Palestinian negotiators. The PLO's Chief Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, addressed the activists while Jericho Governor Majid Fitani and Lieutenant Colonel Atef Naser looked on during an impromptu public meeting.

The “What Is Your Role?” campaign has five components: youth-led initiatives on campuses and in communities; public town hall meetings with Palestinian influencers; TV talk shows on Palestinian national television with live studio audiences and street interviews; radio shows on popular stations in the West Bank; and Siaseh (or “Political”) Cafés where activists get together to talk politics. Each medium reinforces facilitates open, candid discussions between average Palestinians and their leaders and provides a vehicle for non-violent activism and public engagement in the political process –making OVP’s campaign a unique and important part of the grassroots efforts needed for a successful outcome.

03 March 2014 See Post

OneVoice Europe wraps up last speaking tour of 2013

The November 2013 UK Speaking Tour has come to a close, and after five days, two community events, 12 school sessions, four donor meetings, one university event, and 582 people reached, I’d like to reflect on the eventful week.

From November 25-29, Abeer Al-Natsheh, a OneVoice Palestine youth leader from Jerusalem, and Danielle Cumpton of OneVoice Israel and currently studying at Tel Aviv University, spoke to diverse audiences, visiting Al-Hikma Islamic School in Luton, the Jewish Society of City Boys’ School and South Hampstead Girls School, as well as a Quaker event in central London.

The Youth Leaders also helped form part of the panel for a discussion on the role of women in conflict resolution at an event hosted by Women in War and International Politics at King’s College London. I’ve had great experience speaking at many of these schools before, so the students had a fair amount of background knowledge which stimulated debate and led to vibrant discussions.

Although some questions asked by audience members were challenging, Danielle and Abeer handled each session with grace and patience and left the participants excited about the work of OneVoice. One student commented afterward that, “I see [this conflict] on the news every day, but I don’t know which side or narrative to trust. This is really helpful, to hear from people who are actually from there. How do I get involved?” For others, the highlight was just the personal connection with someone from Palestine or Israel. Girls at the Al-Hikma School were delighted to hear Hebrew spoken aloud, and many participants have signed up on OneVoice Europe’s online discussion forum to continue direct contact with the Youth Leaders.

Abeer and Danielle returned to their work in Israel and Palestine more motivated, having communicated to participants at different sessions the urgency of the current negotiations and the need to act now.

OVE is grateful to Lara Atkin for generously supporting this tour; Greg Rack and Cornelia Meyer for hosting meetings; and last but not least, our Youth Leaders Abeer and Danielle.

*Sharon Alsoodani is OVE’s Education Director and General Manager.

Danielle and Abeer at the discussion on the role of women in conflict resolution at Women in War and International Politics at King’s College London.

Students at the Jewish Society of City Boys’ School listen closely to Danielle and Abeer speak of their experiences living the conflict.

17 December 2013 See Post

Join Sir Paul McCartney: Double your Donation to OneVoice on December 5th

For the first time in over three years, Israel and the Palestinians are negotiating. But these talks are fragile, and now is the time for OneVoice to deploy all of its resources in making sure that the voice of the people is heard, and that this opportunity is not squandered.

In the coming weeks, our offices in Ramallah, Tel Aviv, and Gaza City will launch ambitious, parallel campaigns to support bold leadership, mobilising the majority of citizens who support two-states and an end to conflict. But they need your help. 

This December, online donations to OneVoice Europe will be doubled. That means that every gift you make will train twice as many young people, hold twice as many pioneering events like our Knesset and Muqata visits, and mobilise twice as many activists to take to the streets and demand brave action from their leaders. We are honoured to have the support of OneVoice International Board of Advisors Member Sir Paul McCartney in this effort.

Upon meeting OneVoice activists in the region, Sir Paul commented to reporters that "they told me that the vast majority of people in both societies are moderates and simply want a better life for their families and themselves. This gave me great hope that, one day, people like them will help to bring about a peaceful resolution to the troubles in the area." 

Sir Paul McCartney is promoting OneVoice's Big Give campaign, sending messages to his millions of Twitter and Facebook followers asking them to give what they can in support of our efforts. Writing on his blog last week, Sir Paul said:

“I support OneVoice because Israelis and Palestinians deserve peace, and the young people who are part of OneVoice need our help in making that happen. From December 5th, online donations to OneVoice are being doubled. Please click here, make a pledge, and show your support for the moderate majority who want to put conflict behind them.”

This December, please join Sir Paul, and the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed OneVoice's mandate, and demanded an end to conflict. Please donate what you can on December 5th, or click here to make a pledge. Together, we can help make history in 2014.

25 November 2013 See Post

Portrait from Palestine: OneVoice Activists in Nablus Paint Mural

On Saturday November 23, 40 OneVoice Palestine (OVP) activists in Nablus organized an artistic initiative to support the Palestinian leadership and emphasize the importance of a peace agreement to achieve Palestinian national aspirations.

OVP's chapters in Nablus designed a mural reflecting on two important events in Palestinian history, according to OVP Youth Leader Alaa Salous. The first was the anniversary of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s death on November 11 and the second was Palestine's Independence Day on November 15.

“Today we honor our leader by walking in his footsteps and supporting the two-state solution,” Salous said, “and we also want to promote young Palestinians’ roles in ending the occupation and building the independent state.”

The mural shows the faces of the late President Arafat and current President Mahmoud Abbas. The Youth Leaders wrote “Palestine, the 194th State” on the mural, referring to the name given to the diplomatic campaign by the Palestinian National Authority last year in an effort to gain statehood in the United Nations, which OVP supported through a national campaign in the West Bank and Gaza.

As the young leaders raised the mural on the wall of the Center, they were satisfied and very proud of the work they accomplished.

OneVoice staff was also happy of the outcome.

“I think this is a clear image of non-violent activism at its best,” said OVP Executive Director Samer Makhlouf. “We encourage our volunteers to organize these types of activities to protest the occupation and the Israeli government's policies against our people.

23 November 2013 See Post

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