We are dedicated to conflict resolution. Israelis and Palestinians at a grassroots level want to find a resolution to this conflict and agree in broad terms on the parameters for that resolution. They do not necessarily like or love each other, but they recognize that to guarantee their own freedom, security, and viability, they have to assure the same for the other side. We are committed to mobilizing people behind this belief to effect real change. We are a grassroots, non-partisan, parallel Israeli-Palestinian organization – not imposing ideas from above, but helping people on the ground to find and frame their own answers.
OneVoice does not have its own views on how a peace agreement should look – we are simply codifying the views of the masses, and building off of the groundwork laid by past agreements and proposals, which are accepted by the majority of Israelis & Palestinians as the basis for negotiating a two-state solution. The vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, according to all major polls, agree that a two-state solution is the only way to end this conflict.
Individuals, trusts and foundations – Israeli, Palestinian, and international. Much of our funding comes from Arab-Americans and Jews. Businessmen in the region, such as Yasser Mahmoud Abbas and Samer Khoury, are amongst our Board members who make contributions annually. In addition, OneVoice groups Europe are creating local chapters to help support our work in the Middle East.
This is the most commonly asked question by people on both sides. Each side perceives that the other lacks a contingent of moderates willing to lead their people to compromise. Exactly the same amount of money goes into programming in Israel as it does in Palestine.
What many people are unable to see, which we uniquely can, is that whether on the left or on the right, Israeli or Palestinian, the overwhelming majority on each side would choose co-existence and mutual respect over co-extermination and mutual ruination. In spite of any apprehension or skepticism they share, they ultimately express a commitment and desire to participate with us.
Yes. This is not to say that it will be easy: many clever and committed people have tried and failed in this field. Our principal objective is to mobilize people to both demand more of their leaders and support their leaders in steps toward conflict resolution. History shows us that when the majority wants something, it can be achieved. OneVoice activates citizens to ask their leaders in a democratic way to implement their will.
At a minimum, we are confident that we can achieve the following:
The nature of grassroots work is to engage the masses. Our activities include town hall meetings, youth leadership programs, public service announcements, and a variety of other initiatives. Much of our work is face-to-face and about getting people to understand how they can channel their frustration toward positive change. Our various initiatives over the past five years have enabled us to build a membership base of more than 650,000 Israelis and Palestinians.
The Citizen Negotiation Platform was created by a broad panel of religious, community, and political leaders with experience in this field, including Israelis, Palestinians, and others. They came together and broke the conflict down into its ten most seemingly intractable areas of dispute – see below – and posed potential resolutions to these areas.
Israelis and Palestinians were then asked – through several rounds of voting – to voice their opinions on these resolutions through an innovative weighted voting system. Where there was no consensus between Israelis and Palestinians, the council of experts was asked to come up with new solutions, based on feedback from the voters. Thus a negotiation system was created to engage citizens on both sides and build a popular mandate for peace.
Throughout the rounds of voting, consensus was found on each of the ten major issues at the heart of the conflict. 76% of Israelis and Palestinians - the same percentage on each side - were found to support a two-state solution.
Issues voted on:
Our youth leadership program trains the brightest young Israelis and Palestinians to be leaders in their own communities. It is designed to build a human infrastructure through which to create a real movement for change and to engage all Israelis and Palestinians in our work.
The International Engagement Program allows Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders to tell students, politicians, and religious groups outside the region about the realities of living in Israel and Palestine – realities not shown by the media. The program is designed to help those outside the region to dispel polarization, extremism, and hatred in their own communities.
"Extremism" is a word reserved for paradigms and practices which deny the humanity of the other side, operate through terror and intimidation, and which derail any negotiating effort in support of absolutist terms that deny the other side their unalienable rights. Having views that are regarded in certain political circles as "extreme" does not make one an "extremist" for purposes of this initiative. Indeed, it is critical that the broadest number of people from all spectrums be integrated into this inclusive undertaking. The only people OneVoice excludes are those opposed to a constructive process that respects the humanity of the other side.
OneVoice defines "moderates" as the overwhelming majority of citizens on both sides of the conflict that will choose prosperity and co-existence over enduring animosity and violence.
It is easier to achieve a general consensus through weighted voting by thousands of individuals who actively express their opinions in a constructive platform than it is for two leaders with decades of entrenched animosity to reach a conclusive agreement. People need only represent their own views and are unconstrained by their pasts; they are not answerable to special interest groups, the media, or perceived popular will.
The OneVoice solution is coming from the Middle East; it is not being imposed on anyone. Hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis were involved in its inception and now more than 650,000 are members. OneVoice is shaped according to what people who live in the region believe will work. In this regard, we provide a neutral gateway towards consensus that is not linked to any existing entrenched power. OneVoice is a non-biased, grassroots platform that derives its legitimacy from popular participation.
OneVoice was launched because we recognized that the majority of Palestinians and Israelis want to find a resolution to the conflict but have been disenfranchised or have fallen prey to external fears and hatreds. In turn, the media’s relentless focus on the violence and animosity has exacerbated the problem, propagating a new level of misunderstanding. Until the advent of OneVoice, there was no platform for individuals to engage in a constructive process to achieve a more promising vision for the future.