Despite the heat of the summer, OneVoice activists were busy with many grassroots campaigns that generated public and media attention.
Grassroots Campaign Highlights
Throughout the summer, OneVoice Youth Leaders kept up the momentum to promote a settlement freeze and return to negotiations. OneVoice Israel activists continued to pressure their government urging the Knesset to quash legislation legalizing outposts on private Palestinian land. OneVoice also released a poll showing that 57.7% of respondents supported the Supreme Court’s decision to demolish the outposts and 57.6% opposed the bill legalizing the settlements. Although the bill was not passed, it was subsequently announced that a new set of housing units were to be built. Moreover, an Israeli appointed committee report recommended legalizing the majority of West Bankoutposts. Wearing blindfolds, OneVoice activists warned their government against the dangers of blindness towards the problems on the ground. In addition, OneVoice Israel Activists have been mobilizing with heavy winter coats in different major cities in Israel every week, symbolizing the need to freeze settlement construction and unfreeze peace negotiations.
OneVoice Palestine continued to gain presence across different communities through creative initiatives intended to revive faith in the two-state solution in the occupied Palestinian territories. Infusing social and cultural activities with political work allowed OneVoice Palestine to expand in numbers. OneVoice Palestine’s latest activity drew hundreds of participants from the outskirts of Hebron for a trivia night and signed up more than 300 people to its mission in support of the two-state solution. In addition, over 120 students from several Palestinian universities attended the trivia night, a testament to OneVoice Palestine’s efforts on university campuses. OneVoice Palestine now has 18 active chapters, providing space for activists to meet and create transformative programming to address these issues.
Youth Leadership Training
During the month of July, OneVoice Palestine organized 7 Youth Leader training sessions with Generations for the Peace in Jericho, Bethlehem, Nablus, Qalqilya and Jenin. Around 170 youth leaders received basic training with Generations for Peace (GFP). In addition, OneVoice Palestine conducted a basic training session in Hebron (notpart of the GFP) and two introductory sessions in Qalqilya.
This summer OneVoice Israel is spearheading a joint training initiative with OneVoice Palestine. They endeavor to produce highly skilled Youth Leaders who will meet once a month with their counterparts from OneVoice Palestine to generate higher level youth leader.
Thank you for your support,
The OneVoice Team
Thanks to your support, March and April were busy months, with grassroots campaigns that drew public, political and media attention, as well as intensive trainings to make our youth leaders more skilled and effective activists for the two-state solution.
In March and April, OneVoice youth leaders kept up the momentum to promote a settlement freeze and a return to serious negotiations. Joined by Israeli politicians, civil society organizations and regular citizens, OneVoice Israel (OVI) activists stopped a bid by right-wing members of Knesset to introduce the Outpost Bill, which aimed to transform illegal outposts over four years old into legal settlements. Meanwhile, hundreds of OneVoice Palestine (OVP) activists united to plant trees in several areas of the West Bank earmarked for confiscation by Israeli military order.
In April, OneVoice activists launched complementary campaigns in Israel and Palestine asking their leaders, “What about the Arab Peace Initiative?” (API). 10 years ago, the 22 Arab League member states came together in Beirut to propose a historic peace plan to end the Arab-Israeli conflict and create an independent Palestinian state. OVI has worked across its 8 university chapters to advocate for the API, incorporating social media with a Facebook application that replicates people’s comments directly onto Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Wall.
A OneVoice Israel online campaign banner asks the public to weigh in: “The king of Bahrain…is offering us peace and an agreed-upon solution to the refugee issue. He calls it the Arab Peace Initiative. Good? Bad? What do you say?”
Last week, OVP youth leaders led a media-grabbing event near Jenin, by the 1967 border, releasing hundreds of helium balloons carrying the text of the Arab Peace Initiative to float into Israel. OVP has also held several high-profile Town Hall Meetings, including a women’s empowerment meeting in Qalqilya attended by 200 women along with the governor and the mayor.
Hundreds of OneVoice youth activists and locals, wearing flag caps of countries supporting the Arab Peace Initiative, released into Israel hundreds of helium balloons carrying the text of the regional peace plan.
In March, OneVoice Israel (OVI) conducted an advanced fellowship seminar for 45 youth leaders. The weekend-long seminar gave youth leaders practical skills as well as a deeper understanding of the psychological and political dimensions of the conflict. Topics ranged from the use of media to the role of Israeli-Arabs in resolving the conflict. Prominent guest speakers included Yossi Sarid, the former education minister, Atalia Shompebeli, the political analyst of YNET and Professor Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University.
OVI has also held smaller, specialized training sessions for the university chapter leaders, featuring guest speakers Ori Rotkovitch, CEO of Arbinger, and Yuval Avramovich, a prominent Israeli writer.
In March and April, OneVoice Palestine (OVP) trained 83 youth leaders from across the West Bank in 3 weekend-long, advanced workshops. These trainings emphasized public speaking skills (featuring guest trainer Mohammad Darawsheh) and tools for mobilizing youth and engaging the community. OVP also held 7 introductory workshops in Ramallah, Qalqilya, Jericho, Jenin and Hebron.
In March, OneVoice Palestine sent 3 youth leaders to participate in an advanced training program with our partner Generations for Peace (GFP) in Amman, Jordan, on peace-building within their society using sports. Later that month, the trained youth leaders implemented the GFP conflict resolution training techniques by organizing a workshop for 60 orphans in Arabeh, West Bank.
OneVoice Gaza director Ezzeldeen Masri conducted an introductory session out of the recently re-opened Gaza office; at the end of the workshop, 25 out of 30 participants expressed willingness to become activists in the movement.
We are also pleased to announce the reopening of the OneVoice Gaza office, which closed in 2009. OneVoice Gaza director Ezzeldin Masri has been testing the ground slowly since November 2011, holding informal sessions with nearly 200 young people. The most recent introductory session, in late April, gave 30 university students in Gaza a historical background to the conflict and underscored the potential of the two-state solution. 25 students signed on to become OneVoice activists after the session.
Thank You for your support! -The OneVoice Team
Our network of youth activists forms the backbone of the OneVoice Movement. Thanks to your support, OneVoice has trained 122 youth leaders since the end of November, equipping them with the skills and tools to advocate for change. And we are pleased to report that we are just a hair’s breadth away from reaching our project funding goal of $10,000!
Our trained youth leaders in Israel are working to make their message echo loudly in the halls of the Knesset. Backed by the Knesset’s Two-State Solution Caucus, OneVoice Israel (OVI) youth leaders are organizing grassroots campaigns to protest the stalled negotiations and demand action from their fellow citizens and political leaders. In 2012, they are focusing their advocacy on a settlement freeze to restore confidence in the peace process and restart negotiations.
In January, OneVoice Israel youth leaders organized a flash mob in Jerusalem's Zion Square to draw attention to their cause. The footage is striking! Activists froze in place for five minutes to symbolize their discontent at lack of negotiations, as well as suggesting the need for a settlement freeze in order to move forward. Several Members of Knesset joined OVI youth leaders in the flash mob. Watch the YouTube video, which has received over 10,000 views.
The focus of OneVoice Palestine (OVP) activists in 2012 is to transform the frustration and hopelessness on the street into a mass, unified call for a peace agreement that establishes an independent Palestinian state and ends all claims. Trained OneVoice youth leaders led many projects on the ground in recent months. They organized a town hall meeting in Jenin led by Dr. Mahmoud Labadi, media advisor of the International Relations Commission of Fatah, discussing the crucial the role of Palestinian youth in conflict resolution. OVP cosponsored the March for Peace in Bethlehem, where youth leaders and many Palestinian children marched through the city with flags and messages of peace.
OneVoice also sent Israeli and Palestinian representatives to the United Nations Alliance of Civilization (UNAOC) Forum in Doha, Qatar, in December 2011. There, they spoke to other youth activists, political figures, and intellectuals from around the world about their activism to spread the OneVoice message.
Through lectures, workshops, field trips, and hands-on activities, the OneVoice youth leadership training program develops young Palestinians and Israelis into articulate and effective advocates for a peaceful two-state solution. It provides them with the practical tools to mobilize their communities and build support for what it will take to achieve peace.
In November 2011, OneVoice Israel (OVI) launched its training program for the academic year across 7 university campus chapters. Since then, 60 youth leaders received training in intensive workshops with eminent guest speakers, who focused on the feasibility and importance of reaching a negotiated agreement. Speakers included Dr. Ron Pundak, one of the Oslo Agreement’s chief architects, Colonel Shaul Arieli, who helped lead negotiations at Camp David, and Ahmad Mashrawi, a city council member in Tel-Aviv-Jaffa.
OVI also conducted 4 educational tours through East Jerusalem, Hebron, and Biram with over 100 participants. Additionally, OVI developed the outreach program “Let’s Talk About It,” which introduces high school students to the core issues of the conflict. Since November 2011, the sessions have reached over 300 high school students in 8 different high schools.
OneVoice Palestine (OVP) trained 62 youth leaders since late November. We held introductory workshops for 20 university students in Ramallah and 20 youths in Gaza, where we recently reopened our offices. OVP also organized an introductory session at the Hebron Aroub Refugee Camp. These workshops provide an overview of the movement’s activities and values, such as civic participation and non-violence. They emphasize the goal of achieving a Palestinian state while simultaneously tackling tough issues like settlements, holy sites, and refugees.
In December, OVP held two advanced training sessions to give youth leaders a deeper understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. These sessions provide a comprehensive historical context to the conflict and explore how it is viewed on both sides. The youth leaders are then better equipped to transmit to others the importance and the meaning of a two-state solution.
Our Commitment to You
In 2012, OneVoice turns 10 years old. If 10 years has taught us anything, it is that every passing day without real progress makes it that much harder. That is why our youth leaders are working so hard to transmit this urgency to their communities and political leaders. Our commitment is not to relent. We will raise our voices until both peoples cannot deny there is a partner on the other side working tirelessly to change the status quo and end the conflict.
Thank you for supporting our work!
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