One Voice in 2009: breaking taboos

By email from OneVoice:

“2009 opened with a variety of new opportunities and unforeseen challenges which have dramatically altered the political landscape in the Middle East – elections and a war, new administrations and more violence. In some ways, the greatest challenge facing us this year is not what has changed, but what has stubbornly persisted: Palestinians still live under occupation, without freedom or independence; Israelis still live under threat from rocket attacks, without security or safety. The dream of two states for two peoples has not been realized.

The tragedy of the Gaza war widened the rift between Israelis and Palestinians – a schism that was acutely felt by OneVoice’s Israeli and Palestinian teams on the ground, threatening the very fabric of the Movement. None were more affected than our Gaza staff, who had to be evacuated following the war, and who have been temporarily relocated to the West Bank. But across all staff and members, there was an enormous amount of trust lost, which needed to be rebuilt.

To confront the situation, over the past two months, OneVoice has been engaged in a deep process of introspection, self-evaluation, political assessment, and strategic consultation to address the current situation and devise a way forward – we came together as a team, Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals, and in so doing were able to reach some conclusions about how we can strengthen the Movement, address the changing realities on the ground, and effect real change this year. After conferring with the OVI and OVP Youth Councils, the International Steering Committee, the International and Regional Boards, and staff from across the offices, OneVoice’s global leadership met together in Jerusalem in late February, and agreed on the following:

OneVoice can play a key role in the process – offering a concrete way forward to both peoples. We have built an unparalleled infrastructure and youth movement based on a unique premise: each side working in its own national self-interest to achieve freedom, independence, security, dignity, viability, and international recognition for both peoples.

But nothing will ever change if we don’t have the courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. Beneath the surface of the phrase “two state solution” there is a great deal of consensus that is yet to be forged within and between both societies – a great deal of understanding that is still missing. Even with our signatories and team members, we have recognized that Palestinians and Israelis have yet to acknowledge the legitimate concerns and perspectives of the other side. OneVoice has a critical role to play in civic education: in tackling the reality of the historic compromise that will be required of both Israelis and Palestinians in order to end the occupation of Palestine, to guarantee the security of Israel, and to resolve the conflict once and for all based on a formula of mutual recognition between two independent and viable states: Israel and Palestine.

Our programs for 2009 will be focused exclusively on the need to take courageous steps and break taboos on each side in order to make progress. It will certainly not be easy – but we simply have no time to lose. The window for a two state solution is closing, and this must be the year we make the critical difference.

We look forward to updating you with more detail in the coming weeks.”

9 Responses to “One Voice in 2009: breaking taboos”

  1. allan s. Says:

    Why do people still talk about a two state solution? Is there one iota of evidence this is possible? Is there anything that would give one hope that somewhere, someone with real power, inside the state of Israel, would truly implement a two state solution? Every fact on the ground, now and in the future, shows this as some giant charade.

  2. Mira Vogel Says:

    “Why do people still talk about a two state solution?”

    Given the reasons why a two state solution hasn’t happened yet, why do people talk as if there were any alternative to a two state solution?

  3. allan s. Says:

    There are two alternatives to a two-state solution: one – is catastrophe about which we can only imagine and really have little control over; two – is a one state solution, a democratic secular non-religious state. Is it any more far-fetched than what is now on the table? A two state solution is ghetto and non-ghetto highways; dividing walls; checkpoints… etc. etc. not an appealing picture.

  4. Mira Vogel Says:

    “Is it any more far-fetched than what is now on the table?”

    Definitely. The same groups who have prevented a two-state solution so far would go to war with each other over the land which each believes is all theirs.

  5. allan s. Says:

    Well precisely, “the same groups who have prevented a two-state solution so far.” Isn’t the leader of one of these groups now the head of state? And, Hamas controls Gaza. Why would either group (historically an ideologically opposed to two states) change course. You believe in fighting for the hegemony of a religious state? What century is this?

  6. Mira Vogel Says:

    We’re in the century of South Ossetia, the former Yugoslavia, and Sri Lanka.

    No, I don’t think I’d put Netanyahu in those groups of wreckers. He’s a defencist right winger – I can’t stand him but afaik you don’t hear him going on about fighting for his incontrovertible god-given entitlement to the land between the river and the sea.

    The one state idea is utopian – and by definition bad at the practicalities of getting from a to b. And since one state involves making a minority out of 5 million Jews in a region where there is so much state-sanctioned antisemitism, you’d think there would be an accompanying flurry of international coexistence efforts involving masses of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians. But no. Single staters tend to boycott Israel, if anything.

  7. Lynne T Says:

    Allan:

    Not only is Hamas opposed to a two-state solution, they, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are most certainly opposed to a secular state anywhere on earth let alone Israel/Palestine.

    The conditions required for a binational state like Canada are so far from middle eastern reality that it’s laughable. For the time being and forseeably future, as Khalid Abu Toameh acknowledges, the two sides need badly to be kept separate.

    Arabs citizens living in Israel would probably opt to stay, as they have for last 60 years. And, were the suicide attacks and rocket attacks cease, enjoy a far more secure than any Jew who tries to remain in the WB or parts of East Jerusalem, and probably better than any Arab living in Gaza, the WB or East Jerusalem.

    Maybe you haven’t noticed, but life in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon isn’t particularly safe and secure for most Arabs either and that’s not because of Jews living in Israel, the WB or East Jerusalem. It’s because the region is largely run by corrupt totalitarian regimes.

  8. allan s. Says:

    Sorry, to say but your understood the founding documents of Likud you would see that Netanyahu is certainly not an aberration – if anything he is a consistent example of the exponents of “A Greater Israel.” An ideological component of Zionism I don’t see any of the Israeli leadership abandoning. We are in the 21st century, Iraq and Gaza…. Yugoslavis disintegrated in the last century. The two-state solution was a possibility Israel reneged on…

  9. benw Says:

    Allan, your knowledge of recent history seems defective. less than 10 years ago, serious discussions on a two-state solution took place, and it was Arafat, not Israel, who “reneged”. the fundamental issue seems to be that Palestinians are not yet willing to accept the idea of Israel as a *Jewish* state, along with a Palestinian state. this is phrased in Palestinian politics as a “right of return” to Israel, and AFAIK not a single Palestinian politician has yet been willing to renounce this “right”. Yaacov Lozowick in “Right to Exist” illustrates this with an anecdote (p. 268) that even the pro-peace extreme on the Palestinian side was not willing to countenance a declaration in favor of a Jewish Israel alongside an Arab Palestine when asked to do so by their Israeli pro-peace counterparts in July 2001.


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