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
OneVoice spent the summer and early fall in busy preparations for the OneVoice Summit – One Million Voices to End the Conflict, to be held simultaneously on October 18, 2007 in Tel Aviv, Jericho, Washington, D.C., London, and Ottawa, with satellite-links between locations.
The Summits were designed to give ordinary citizens an opportunity to speak out in unprecedented numbers in favor of a negotiated resolution to the conflict, and demand that their leaders negotiate and implement a two-state solution.
The plans included live music, speeches by foremost dignitaries and celebrities, and statements from grassroots activists to draw Israelis and Palestinians out to the streets, where they would be linked via satellite to their counterparts across the region and across the globe, allowing people on both sides to see that they have a partner in the resolution process.
In preparation, OneVoice Israel and OneVoice Palestine kicked their signature drives for the OneVoice Mandate into high gear. By mid-September 2007, they reached a huge milestone, having signed up over half a million signatories.
By early October, most of the pieces had been put into place. OneVoice had worked to bring on board the world's foremost dignitaries and political leaders, musicians and celebrities, organizational partners and corporate sponsors to participate in the Summits in Tel Aviv and Jericho, and at the Echo events internationally. Yahoo! generously provided web-streaming technology, in order to broadcast the events worldwide.
Unfortunately, one week before the Summits were to take place, OneVoice was forced to postpone its Jericho event due to security considerations. The Tel Aviv Summit was subsequently postponed in solidarity, while the international Echo events proceeded in an altered format as displays of support for those in the Middle East unable to gather that day. The postponement was a huge setback for OneVoice and the 600,000 Israelis and Palestinians who had signed on in the months leading up to October 18th. However, OneVoice was able to regroup and continue with its campaign.
On Tuesday, November 27th, a small delegation of OneVoice activists from the Middle East, the US, and Europe went to Annapolis, Maryland on behalf of the 620,000+ signatories to the OneVoice Mandate,and on behalf of the overwhelming majorities of Israelis and Palestinians that support negotiations towards a two-state solution.
A number of other groups in attendance on Tuesday stood in opposition to a two state solution and to the very process of peace negotiations. As the leaders pledged to a firm time table, committing to reaching a two state agreement within one year, OneVoice committed to standing by them, supporting them, and mobilizing the moderate majority of citizens in support of an end to the conflict.
OneVoice started the countdown for 365 days of civic action toward a two state solution - one year of holding ourselves and our elected representatives accountable.
At the US-hosted peace summit in Annapolis, MD held in November, Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas agreed "to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations ... [and] make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008." (Full text of Joint Statement of Understanding)
OneVoice supports the serious steps that Abbas and Olmert began taking to negotiate a mutually-acceptable two state solution, guaranteeing an independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel. And we are pledging to put our support behind them as they continue to negotiate.
As a symbol of this commitment, on December 12, 2007 OneVoice launched 11 digital screens – 5 in Ramallah and 6 in Tel Aviv – displaying countdown clocks set for a one year: one year to end the occupation, one year to achieve an independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel, one year to end the violence and end the conflict ... one year for citizens to take a stand in support of the negotiations.
OneVoice simultaneously launched countdown clocks online, as a representation within the international community that we hold ourselves, and our leaders who took part in the Annapolis conference, accountable to playing our part in this process.