Archive for the ‘OneVoice Movement’ Category

Yesterday, a delegation of Israeli politicians from the Caucus for Ending the Israeli-Arab Conflict traveled to the Mukata, the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in Ramallah, to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

OneVoice helped organize the meeting, which followed the successful July 31 visit, where Palestinian officials came to the Israeli parliament as a sign of good faith and support of the negotiations.

“The OneVoice Movement was honored to take part in the making of this unique and historic meeting at the Mukata,” said OneVoice Israel (OVI) Executive Director Tal Harris. “Each side’s commitment to engage in a meaningful dialogue highlights the reality that we are another step closer to making the dream of ending the conflict and the vision of the two-state solution a reality. As we move past this event, the OneVoice Movement will continue to leverage our regional grassroots networks to help mobilize civil society and amplify the voice of the moderate majority on both sides.”

“We are pleased to see the progress being made by the OneVoice Movement’s Caucus for Ending the Israeli-Arab Conflict,” said OneVoice Palestine (OVP) Executive Director Samer Makhlouf. “Although headway is being made, both sides must recognize that there are still significant issues to be addressed, primarily the freezing of settlements activities. Our organization will continue to support the joint work of our government and civil society partners and work with OneVoice youth leaders to support the efforts of President Abbas and lead us on a substantive path toward a two-state solution.”

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I am in the Middle East on a OneVoice mission, and today I had a number of engaging meetings with Israeli leaders (to be followed by 4 more intense days with Palestinian, Israeli and international leaders). One of my most remarkable meetings today was with Yuval Diskin, the former head of Shin Bet, the Israel Security Service (kind of like the FBI of Israel). This was my second meeting with him, and I am extremely impressed with his grasp of the political issues confronting Israel, with his understanding of Palestinians (actually rare for most Israelis who almost never actually get to interact with them, given the physical and virtual separation they face), and with his down-to-earth and practical persona. Below is an article recently published on the Israeli Walla website and a day later in The Jerusalem Post, which details quite accurately the conundrum Israelis must face now.

 

[Read more →]

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This week, Israel Policy Forum (IPF) delivered the following letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu urging him to work with President Obama to take steps to advance a two-state solution. The letter was signed by over 100 prominent American Jewish philanthropists, businesspeople and community leaders. See the full letter and list of signatories after the jump.

By Julianna Storch [Read more →]

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Joel Braudold, Strategic Partnerships Officer for the One Voice Movement, makes the case that the new Israeli leaders should focus their efforts on solving the settlement problem before worrying about the ultra-Orthodox population. Read his full Haaretz piece after the jump.

Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, by Julianna Storch

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Lindsay Levin’s extraordinary book, Invisible Giants, highlights those who overcome obstacles to change the world around them.

Lindsay_levin_book

Read a review of Invisible Giants, written by One Voice Europe Executive Director, John Lyndon after the jump. [Read more →]

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Joshua Prager, who just gave poignant TED talk, was among a group of TEDsters who partnered with the OneVoice Movement on a TED Challenge to find ways to support moderates in the Middle East. His newest book, Half Life: Reflections from Jerusalem on a Broken Neck, is now available as an ebook on Amazon, and I can’t wait to read it!

 

 

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OneVoice and the PeaceWorks Foundation have been working for several months now on a major new initiative to enable ordinary citizens as well as companies, groups and governments – Palestinian, Israeli, or international – to contribute towards building positive facts on the ground that will advance and cement a two state reality and create the environment necessary for political representatives to negotiate and achieve a permanent two state solution.  Part of the methodology involves finding creative solutions where international actors can be catalysts towards improved relations with both sides.  As an example, The Center for Middle East Peace had for years been working behind the scenes to support the Turkish construction of a hospital in Gaza, as a means towards rekindling relations between former allies Turkey and Israel, while doing something to advance the betterment of the Palestinian people and State.  Some were skeptical this could amount to anything.  Now some encouraging signs indicate progress on this path, as recently reported in the article below.

 

[Read more →]

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The people of Dar Sallah were joined by Palestinian leaders and activists to plant more than 1,000 olive trees in the newly establish Peace Park in Bethlehem. With the public contribution of peaceful tree planting, One Voice Palestine worked to promote the concept of personal responsibility and engagement among Palestinian people to encourage state building in peace with Israel. The following video captures the power of this remarkable event.


Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, by Julianna Storch

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So many in the Israeli and American Jewish community say that Palestinians take no steps to build trust or recognize that they are committed to live in peace with Israel.  But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has for over a decade consistently been courageous about the need for reaching a two state solution through non-violent means, to the point that other Palestinians often criticize him for his conciliatory tone and policies that have not been reciprocated by the present Israeli government.

Netanyahu, Lieberman, and, perhaps worst of all Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, keep marginalizing Abbas and giving him no room to operate.

And yet the Israeli Administration has continued to unwittingly (or some fear, intentionally, so as to discredit the existence of moderate Palestinian partners to negotiate with) strengthen Hamas’s credibility – most recently with the Gaza war that ended with Israeli concessions that Hamas is trumpeting as a victory over the Zionists.  Sadly over the last couple months the Israeli government has turned Hamas into an extremely popular party not just in Gaza but even in the West Bank, even among Christian parties.  OneVoice Palestine staff in Gaza and the West Bank report to me that people see the Hamas way as the only way Israelis listen, and they credit Hamas with numerous (often imagined) victories, while seeing Abbas as increasingly ineffective and irrelevant because the Israeli government ignores his overtures.

It wasn’t like this just a few weeks ago!

The present Israeli Administration continues to try to weaken Palestinian moderates and destroy any legitimacy or credibility they may have left.  Last week, Ya’alon said, “What stands out from this event is the irrelevance of Abbas.  He’s only relevant for declarations and for unilateral steps to seek recognition at the UN.”  So what does Ya’alon want? For Abbas to use force so that he will listen?!  Didn’t we ask for Palestinians to use diplomatic means? Which is it? Do we want the Palestinian leadership to use reason as Abbas does, or force as Hamas does?

Listen to the words of Abbas himself most recently.  It takes enormous courage for him to be as direct about all these issues:


And yet, Netanyahu’s response that same day was to announce more settlement building.
It is fascinatingly depressing to see how extremists help one another become more popular.  It is almost as if there is an unholy alliance between the Israeli and Palestinian absolutists, reinforcing each others’ visions and destroying the moderate camps on both sides. How long will the voices of moderation stay silent and watch their lives be hijacked?

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Daniel and the One Voice team met with President Abbas in Ramallah on Daniel’s recent trip to the Middle East. During their visit, Daniel and the One Voice team briefed President Abbas on their efforts to couple the One Voice grassroots movement with economic development in the region to create positive facts on the ground in Israel and Palestine. The president’s blog reports that President Abbas thanked Daniel for his tireless efforts to achieve peace between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, stressing the importance of these projects to the achievement of peace in the region.

By Julianna Storch

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