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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19 September 2014

The Exodus Theatre Company will perform 'MURDER' by renowned Israeli playwright Hanoch Levin September 19-21* in New York City. ETC is generously donating the proceeds of its performances to OneVoice.

From the ETC website: 'MURDER' portrays the Israeli-Palestinian endless cycle of violence, in all its brutality, over the course of 10 years.

Check out ETC's site to learn more about the company, the play, and how you can purchase tickets.

*There will be a talk-back session on opening night post-performance.

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19 October 2014

On 19 October, OneVoice Europe will host Ezzeldeen Masri, Executive Director of OneVoice Palestine-Gaza, for an evening talk in London. He spends every day working in Gaza to promote our agenda; namely an end to the conflict by way of the two-state solution. He recruits activists in Gaza to help our cause, and works tirelessly for peace and two states. He will be joined by Tal Harris, formerly the Executive Director of OneVoice Israel, who pursued the very same agenda in Israel out of our Tel Aviv office.

The event will take place Alyth Synagogue on 19 October at 7:15 p.m. Q&A will follow.

Ticket price is£25. To purchase please click here .

Please join us for what we will undoubtedly be a very informative evening.

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“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

OneVoice mourns the loss of friend and Honorary Board of Advisors member, John Mroz.

From The New York Times obituary: John Edwin Mroz, a consultant to governments in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere who conducted secret talks with Yasir Arafat on behalf of the Reagan administration in an unsuccessful effort to persuade the Palestine Liberation Organization to accept Israel’s right to exist, died on Aug. 15 in Manhattan. He was 66.

Mroz was founder and the chief executive of the EastWest Institute and a member of OneVoice's Honoary Board of Advisors.

You can read more about the life and career of John Mroz here.
04 September 2014 See Post

OneVoice Statement on Egyptian-brokered Unlimited Ceasefire in Gaza

OneVoice welcomes today's announcement of the Egyptian-brokered unlimited ceasefire in Gaza.  As we have said over the course of the last 50 days of conflict, the tragic loss of life on both sides is proof that the status quo that fostered this latest round of violence in Gaza is unacceptable and unsustainable.  We welcome new diplomatic initiatives to rebuild hope for Israelis and Palestinians exhausted by the violence and the absence of meaningful progress to end the conflict. Direct, good faith negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel are essential to achieving this historic goal. We believe the end of hostilities in Gaza provides the best opportunity in many months for moderate Israelis and Palestinians to hold their leaders accountable to resume negotiations. OneVoice will redouble its efforts in the days and weeks ahead to mobilize and empower those moderate voices.      

26 August 2014 See Post

OVI’s Elanit Green underscores need for negotiations at UJIA debate

OneVoice Israel Project Manager Elanit Green (pictured above, right) participated in a Youth United Jewish Israel Appeal/Jewish Chronicle panel entitled, ‘Why Always Israel? The Debate,’ on Tuesday, August 19 in London. Participants included: Stephen Pollard, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle; Rony Yedidia-Clein, Minister-Counsellor for Public Diplomacy, Embassy of Israel; and moderator, Clive Sheldon QC, Barrister at leading chambers and Co-Chair of Masorti Judaism UK. Over 70 young professionals attended the UJIA headquarters.

The event was part of series of events that aimed to educate young professionals about the history, facts, and key arguments surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This particular session looked at what influences Israel’s media image and political policies, as well as how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might be solved.

Elanit was asked about the latest Israel-Gaza violence. She spoke of  “many missed opportunities” during the negotiations spearheaded by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, but said that as violence flairs Israel is obliged to protect its citizens – within reason. At the same time, Israel must strengthen moderate Palestinians – namely President Abbas – in order to put a permanent stop to the cycle of violence.

"If Netanyahu is serious about peace and wants an end to the conflict he has to strengthen Abbas,” Elanit said. “At OneVoice, we launched a national campaign, ‘Negotiate with Abbas, not with Hamas,’ to show Israelis there is a moderate voice and to empower them to demand from their government negotiations with the Palestinians that ends all claims and allows us to live in a lasting peace.”

Audience members asked whether Israeli society shifted to the political right in light of the violence. Elanit explained that during times of conflict people become more nationalistic for a time.

“Israel unifies and people rally around the flag,” she said. “But once the violence ends, people will talk about real issues; they will begin to criticize the conflict. For example, issues of the budget will surface – as will others. We will start to see criticism of how this war was conducted.”

Despite the situation, Elanit told the audience she sees space to change the status quo for Gazans.

“While this conflict is terrible, it also brings an enormous opportunity to improve the life of Palestinians in Gaza; to lift the blockade by introducing a moderate leader in the territory. We must empower Abbas, giving him the opportunity to lead moderate voices.”

26 August 2014 See Post

OneVoice Europe talks conflict resolution at Living Islam Festival

OneVoice Europe participated in the annual Living Islam Festival on July 31 in London. The Festival is a national celebration of British Islam that encourages Muslims in the UK to think about their faith. Several thousand people attended this year, providing OVE another opportunity to expand its reach and engage as many people as possible about peace.

While a thriving bazaar and an array of workshops, activities, and food stalls added to the festive post-Eid mood, there was also a more somber side to the event. Many of the charities present spoke about the devastation in Gaza, and there were appeals for aid for those affected by the recent escalation in violence.

OneVoice was a unique presence at the festival, with our focus on conflict resolution providing a constructive angle on what many see as a desperate situation. Most of the people who approached us supported a two-state solution and the end to the occupation, and emphasized the common humanity they saw between all civilians who had been caught in the conflict, regardless of their nationality.

We also hosted two workshops during the festival, offering political background and analysis as well as an overview of OneVoice’s work. We received lots of positive interest in our Outreach and Education Program, including from school representatives.  Although the sessions were at times highly emotional, including a minute’s silence for the recent victims of the conflict, attendees maintained a pragmatic discussion about how to reach a solution. We gained 40 new members and a huge amount of support for our work, including queries about volunteering.

In Britain, there is a tendency for events in the Middle East to affect the way that communities are treated here- disturbingly, Jewish groups have reported a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the latest offensive began. Therefore it is absolutely crucial that people with strong feelings about the conflict are given a platform from which to discuss their views and worries while learning about the work of peace-seeking elements on both sides.

The Living Islam Festival provided exactly this kind of opportunity and sent out a message of inclusivity: far from being a ‘Muslim’ issue, the events in Gaza are drawing together British people from all backgrounds who want to see an end to the fighting.

Sharon Alsoodani is OneVoice Europe’s Outreach Director.

18 August 2014 See Post

OneVoice Europe branches out programming to German Students

In an effort to expand OneVoice’s capacity to other influential parts of Europe, OneVoice Europe’s Education Director Sharon Alsoodani conducted a Skype session between 70 students in Ansbach, Germany, and an Israeli and Palestinian activist on July 24.

Recent events in Gaza have resulted in worrying manifestations in Germany and broader Europe. Many protests highly critical of Israel have devolved into disturbingly anti-Semitic demonstrations and acts of violence. In parallel, several anti-Islam movements and parties have risen to prominence in Europe over the last few years. OVE works hard to combat these views among young British people, and the visit provided an excellent opportunity to introduce OneVoice to young Germans.

Gabi and Wasim, two of our activists, took part in the session. Gabi lives in Tel Aviv, Wasim in Ramallah, and both offered the students fresh insights into the political and humanitarian situation. Both emphasized the need for the violence to stop and condemned attacks which target civilians. They stressed OneVoice’s message: the occupation and conflict need to end as soon as possible through bilateral negotiations.

It was clear the students were aware of the shift in Germany; some asked questions about anti-Semitism in Palestine. It has perhaps never been more important, both in Europe and in the region, that people are able to criticize government policy without implicating an entire community. The Outreach and Education Program takes important steps to achieve this by presenting students with faces of the conflict, like Gabi and Wasim, who are more relatable and appealing than politicians.

Although there were inevitably differences in perspective, the students’ feedback showed that they were impressed by how fair the speakers were in not granting precedence to one narrative, and they were moved at hearing news of the current situation in the region. Many expressed their hopes for a speedy ceasefire and that OneVoice would come back to interact with other groups of students. After weeks of global conversation that seems consumed by hatred and blame, it was great to see that OneVoice still exists in the words and attitude of activists like Wasim and Gabi, and in young people like the Ansbach class who are so open and willing to listen.

08 August 2014 See Post

OneVoice welcomes the three day ceasefire

OneVoice welcomes the three day ceasefire just announced by the parties in order to provide urgent humanitarian relief needed to besieged Palestinians and provide a respite from missile attacks on Israeli civilians. 

We hope that this critical initiative taking place under the auspices of the Egyptian government tonight in Cairo will lead to the resumption of direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel to ensure that the conditions that resulted in this latest round of hostilities affecting Israel and Gaza do not recur.

The dangerous escalation and tragic loss of life on both sides of the border are proof that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable. Palestinians and Israelis will only realize peace and security by transforming this temporary ceasefire into a renewed opportunity to resume direct, good faith negotiations leading to a lasting peace.

31 July 2014 See Post

OneVoice Palestine hosts Ramadan political iftars

In spite of the current conflict, OneVoice Palestine (OVP) activists are hard at work organizing peaceful, informative events to cultivate support for an end to the violence and the status quo.

OVP is running an iftar series throughout the month of Ramadan. Iftars are the evening meals to break the daily fast, and OVP is bringing together activists, community representatives, security forces, and political leaders to share meals and participate in constructive discussions on the political situation in the West Bank and Gaza.

On July 3, 40 youth leaders meet with OVP Board Member Dr. Mohammed Labadi in Jenin, who told the participants that although “these are very difficult times, we will pull through. I can’t stress how important it is to keep hope. There is a necessity to work hard on all different levels to make sure that the situation won’t escalate further.”

OVP held its second iftar at the Palestinian National Security Forces (PNSF) headquarters in Jericho on July 9. Over 50 activists from Jericho, Ramallah, and Bethlehem toured the facility with Lieutenant Colonel Atef Naser, Commander of the Palestinian National Security Forces in Nu'ayma Refugee Camp. Before sitting down for the iftar with hundreds of security force personnel Lieutenant Colonel Naser praised OVP for strengthening the relationship between the public and security forces in Palestine, especially under these circumstances.

OVP’s Executive Director Samer Makhlouf stressed that what is happening in Gaza is very bad and unacceptable. Stopping the war against Gaza and reaching a ceasefire that will save the lives of civilians on both sides must be a top priority, and in this difficult time, the Palestinians should unite on one strategy to resist the occupation through popular, nonviolent activities.

“Nonviolence and national unity are keys to ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state,” Samer continued. “Look at other successful experiences in other parts of the world; if nonviolence worked there, it will definitely work here.”

Nablus was the next city to have an OVP iftar. The July 11 feast featured over 100 youth and political leaders. Nablus’s Mayor and Member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Mr. Ghassan Shakaa; Advisor to the Council of Ministers, Dr. Fawaz Aqel; Deputy Ambassador of Palestine to Azerbaijan, Dr. Walid Tiem; and Dr. Labadi all attended.

“When I was invited, I was very hesitant, but OneVoice youth leaders who arranged the event were very persistent,” admitted Mayor Shakaa during the iftar. “They called my office a couple of times, and I agreed to attend. After watching the video [of successful OVP activities from the last two years], I pledge my full support to OneVoice if you continue the work you do on the ground. In the 1990s, I worked with other mayors from the West Bank and Israel to achieve civil peace. We knew back then that coordination is needed to reach a common goal. I hope you will take the lead soon and pursue the dream of an independent state.”

*Josh Rutstein is the Summer 2014 communications intern. 

Mayor Shakaa Nablus OneVoice Palestine

Right to left; Dr. Walid Tiem, Dr. Fawaz Aqel, Dr. Mahmoud Labadi, Yakoub Samri, OVP’s Abdallah Hamarsheh and Samer Makhlouf, Mr. Ghassan Shakaa, and OneVoice volunteers. 

16 July 2014 See Post

Talking peace during war

Peace. It is a bit odd to write about peace as I sit at home in Bat Yam and wait for the sirens to go off, running to and from the safety of my bomb shelter. But this situation compels me to write about peace and the hundreds of people who gathered in Tel Aviv at the Haaretz Israel Conference on Peace on July 8 as rockets from Gaza flew overhead.

The conference had a number of panels and speakers – academics, members of the Knesset, journalists, and international analysts – professing a variety of views about the conflict and how (or if) Israel can make peace with the Palestinians. Labor Party Chair MK Yitzhak “Buji” Hertzog told the participants, “this IS the time for a peace conference,” and OneVoice Israel co-sponsored a workshop on young people and the peace process, where MK Stav Shaffir said, “nobody will take care of a peace solution if young people don't do it, because the system is built to maintain the status quo.”

We cannot wait for peace to come later. An agreement to establish the two-state solution and finally end the conflict is possible, and it is the only way for Israel to remain a democratic state.

Most Israelis lost their hope in peace a long time ago. This loss not only drives us away from the possibility of peace, it also makes us cynical and resentful.

I became very emotional when Israeli vocalist Achinoam Nini's sang "Shir LaShalom" (Song for Peace) at the conference—the same piece Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sang during a peace rally in 1995.  Its meaning died a little in Israel along with Rabin’s death. But the Haaretz conference and movements like OneVoice make sure that it’s not in the grave just yet.

Spending an entire day in a room full of people devoted to peace, knowing you're not alone, was very empowering. It was an incredible experience, meeting groups and organizations devoted to the idea of peace and that care about Palestinians and Israelis alike. Embodying peace is a moral and ethical sharpening of ourselves and believing that there are partners for peace (and there surely are) makes us a better partner, too.

15 July 2014 See Post

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