Press Release: Over Half a Million Palestinian & Israeli Signatories Demand Uninterrupted Negotiations, Two-State Solution
OVER HALF A MILLION PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI SIGNATORIES DEMAND UNINTERRUPTED NEGOTIATIONS, TWO-STATE SOLUTION
DEADLINE SET BY THE PEOPLE: TWO STATE AGREEMENT BY OCTOBER 18, 2008
Jericho/Tel Aviv, September 19, 2007 — Today, the OneVoice Movement, a youth-led mainstream nationalist movement with parallel operations in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, announced that it had exceeded its original goal of recruiting half a million Palestinian and Israeli citizens as signatories of a mandate demanding a two-state solution. The OneVoice Mandate calls on Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert to start immediate, uninterrupted negotiations until a comprehensive two-state solution is reached.
As of the latest audit on September 17, 2007, 536,443 Israeli and Palestinian signatories (262,008 Israelis and 274,435 Palestinians) have joined the movement. Having exceeded its goal of recruiting half a million Palestinians and Israelis in roughly equal numbers four months earlier than planned, OneVoice aims to get to One Million citizen signatories by the end of 2007.
The groundswell of Israeli and Palestinian citizens committing themselves to the movement will gather on an unprecedented scale on October 18th, 2007, when OneVoice will host the One Million Voices to End the Conflict people's summits. The summits will be held simultaneously in Jericho and Tel Aviv, and linked via satellite to international "echo" events in London, Washington D.C. and Ottawa. Hundreds of thousands are expected to participate, showing their solidarity in support of a two-state solution and demanding accountability to the will of the people.
The Mandate sets a deadline for the Heads of State to achieve an agreement no later than October 18, 2008, one year from the date of the peoples' summit.
"While risky, setting a deadline is vital to send a message that business as usual is no longer acceptable to the people. Every minute delayed in ending the conflict is a minute gained by forces of militant absolutism committed to erase the possibility of a two-state solution," said Daniel Lubetzky, Founder of the OneVoice Movement.
"If the Israeli and Palestinian Heads of State demonstrate progress over the coming months, they will be able to eventually reverse the debacle in Gaza, by pointing to a positive alternative that will undermine extremism," added Lubetzky. "But if they don't, the opposite will happen and fundamentalist extremist ideologies will spread to the West Bank, and eventually Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the world."
"The voice of the people is the critical element in reaching a viable solution for the region that has been missing in the resolution process thus far," said Dr. Fathi Darwish, General Director of OneVoice Palestine. "If the Palestinian people want to end the occupation, and if the Israeli people want to ensure security and normalization with the Arab world, then each individual must play a real role to bring that about."
Through a series of groundbreaking negotiations held among Palestinian, Israeli and international experts and advisors, OneVoice revealed that a hidden consensus amongst the people exists on the basis of a two-state solution. 76% of both Israelis and Palestinians are in favor of a two-state solution, and would be willing to compromise to live in strong, independent, stable states at peace with their neighbors. Building off of these Citizens Negotiations is the OneVoice Mandate, which calls upon the region's elected representatives to:
- Recognize the right of both peoples to independence, sovereignty, freedom, justice, dignity, respect, national security, personal safety, and economic viability,
- Implement concrete confidence-building measures that will improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people, including ensuring freedom of movement for ordinary civilians and fostering education against incitement on both sides, and
- Immediately commence uninterrupted negotiations until reaching an agreement, no later than October 18, 2008, for a Two-State Solution, fulfilling the consistent will of the overwhelming majority of both populations.
Founded after the Oslo process collapsed in the aftermath of the Camp David II negotiations, and frustrated with years of stalemated negotiations, violent conflict, and continued terror and occupation, OneVoice works to mobilize the moderate majority, which has been heretofore silent against the forces of violent extremism.
"If the people of Israel and Palestine want to end the conflict, they must create a support system for the peace process," said Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who announced he is joining the OneVoice Movement's Honorary Board. "The events on October 18th represent a potential tipping point for OneVoice's longstanding commitment to seize back the agenda from violent extremism by mobilizing the vast numbers of moderate citizens on both sides."
Rabbi David Rosen, Chairman of the International Jewish Committee, also a member of the Honorary Board, added, "This is not a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It's not a conflict between Muslims and Jews. The real conflict is between the moderates on both sides against violent extremism that seeks to wreak havoc and hopelessness."
About the OneVoice Movement:
The OneVoice Movement is a mainstream nationalist grassroots movement with over half a million signatories in roughly equal numbers both in Israel and in Palestine, and 3,000 highly-trained youth leaders. It aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity, empowering them to demand accountability from elected representatives and work toward a two-state solution. OneVoice counts on its Board over 60 foremost dignitaries and business leaders across a wide spectrum of politics and beliefs, joining as OneVoice against violent extremism and for conflict resolution. Learn more by visiting www.OneMillionVoices.org.