Howard Sumka
Ynetnews (Opinion)
December 1, 2011 - 1:00am,7340,L-4155598,00.html

Across Israel and the Palestinian territories hard-liners empower each other and drown out voices for peace. Distrust, fear and alienation increasingly define the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians. The status quo of fatalism and political lethargy looms over them.

OneVoice emerged against this backdrop nine years ago, creating a network of 4,500 Israeli and Palestinian youth activists working to end the conflict through a negotiated two-state solution. These individuals run the gamut of political and religious affiliations, but come together to shout back at extremists, offer an alternative to the toxic environment, and serve as agents for change. From our offices in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, we work in parallel to amplify the voice of moderates who demand their leaders take bold action.

In his recent op-ed, Moshe Dann takes OneVoice to task for ignoring incitement. We’ve engaged thousands of Israelis and Palestinians through town hall meetings, street campaigns, and social media to address taboo topics from Jerusalem to Palestinian refugees, from settlements to land swaps. And yes, we address issues of incitement, symptomatic of a conflict that devastates lives and gnaws on the moral fiber of both societies.

In fact, we are now working with the Two-State Solution Caucus, headed by MK Yoel Hasson, to encourage Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to rejuvenate the tripartite committee to prevent incitement, to which President Mahmoud Abbas has already committed.

If we accept Dann’s argument that the core of the conflict is “Jew-hatred,” then all in the region would be condemned to an interminable conflict.

OneVoice will not abandon its efforts because the conditions are less than desirable. We will not remain shackled by the status quo. Incitement, hatred, and violence are serious impediments to peace. Solving them individually and as prerequisites to tackling the next set of challenges will doom yet another generation of Israelis and Palestinians.

We need to raise all the issues and instill in the people the necessity for painful compromises. We are building a human infrastructure capable of propelling the leaders to make these compromises and holding the leaders to account. That’s what OneVoice does on the ground, not from its international offices in New York and London, but across Israel and Palestine, where a corps of young and committed leaders work every day to achieve what is in their own best interests: a future of two-states existing side by side in peace.


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