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.
Grassroots Campaign Highlights
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.
Youth Leadership Training
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