*** 76% of Israeli and Palestinian Citizen Negotiators Affirm Two State Solution ***
***Over 35,000 Citizens Thus Far Vote In Unprecedented Extra-Political Public Negotiations***
---Citizen Consensus achieved on Fundamental Basis for Solution In Spite of Charged Atmosphere;
OneVoice Expert Committee Braces to Analyze Settlements, Borders, Refugees, and Jerusalem----
Jerusalem- Out of over 35,000 people in the first-ever engagement of ordinary citizens to vote on ten essential questions for how to resolve the conflict, over three quarters accepted the most fundamental proposal to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to preliminary results from the OneVoice public negotiations process.
Specifically, 75.6% of Israelis and 75.8% of Palestinians unconditionally accepted the proposal that “there will be two viable states: Israel will be the state of the Jewish people and Palestine the state of the Palestinian people, each recognizing the other as such, both democratic and respecting human rights, including minority rights.”
“It is remarkable that citizens on both sides are so clearly speaking up against extremism and for a concrete solution to the conflict even during these trying times,” said OneVoice Mideast Director Mohammad Darawshe. “Palestinian outreach workers were canvassing and engaging Palestinian citizens everywhere from refugee camps to universities days after assassinations of the Hamas leadership that inflamed a lot of them, and while they encountered enormous anger and frustration, the people chose to speak up to the other side with a solution.”
Over 45% of citizen negotiators that participated in this round of voting were between the ages of 15 (the minimum age to participate) and 24, and over 64% were between 15 and 34. OneVoice includes over 40 member outreach organizations, including the Palestinian group Friends Without Borders, and the National Union of Israeli Students.
OneVoice, www.silentnolonger.org, provides a public negotiations platform to ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, deploying cutting edge technology contributed by the IBM Foundation, traditional canvassing on streets, a network of member organizations, and a broad cadre of spiritual and business leaders, dignitaries and celebrities, to engage individuals to participate in crafting a public consensus around issues at the heart of the current conflict.
“The process is designed to educate people about the issues themselves as well as about non-violent processes for conflict resolution. It aims to amplify the voice of moderates, invest them in the recognition that they need to stand up against violent absolutism, and help them seize back the agenda for conflict resolution,” said Daniel Lubetzky, President of the PeaceWorks Foundation, which conceived and seeded the OneVoice movement.
Through the OneVoice weighted voting process, citizens negotiate with themselves and deal with ‘intractable’ issues in a manner that requires them to prioritize their protests. Over 90% of participants chose to use the weighted-vote-allocation system, rather than to simply vote yes or no for all questions, an indication of the seriousness with which they took the system. Weighted-votes take on average 15 to 30 minutes per participants.
Out of the less than 25% that rejected the above formulation for the two-state solution, their “level of disagreement” was only 15.66 points for Palestinians and 15.79 points for Israelis, out of a total 100 “negative points” that they could allocate among the 10 proposals in this weighted vote.
The proposals that elicited the most contention were, predictably, on settlements, refugees, borders, and Jerusalem. The data is being analyzed by a panel of statisticians and experts and will be unveiled at the Annual Meeting of the PeaceWorks Foundation in New York City on May 25th. Thereafter, a council of foremost Palestinian and Israeli experts will convene in London May 27-30th to draft new proposals based on the feedback from the citizen voters. New proposals will be sent to citizens during the summer and early fall until the maximum possible consensus is achieved among the broadest possible numbers of Israeli and Palestinian citizen negotiators.
FOOTAGE OF PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI CANVASSING EFFORTS AT UNIVERSITIES, SCHOOLS, SHOPPING MALLS AND EVEN AT POLICE TRAINING SEMINARS CAN BE MADE AVAILABLE TO MEDIA.