On April 27th, the PeaceWorks Foundation received CTU’s esteemed PeaceMakers Award. On May 5th, OneVoice activist Leena Shtayeh was not just the youngest to be elected throughout municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza – but also the one with the highest number of votes.
Throughout May, OneVoice conducted democracy workshops and town hall discussions on the Palestinian side and made progress on the anti-incitement campaign on the Israeli side. OneVoice launched a pilot International anti-extremism campaign with OV Israeli and Palestinian activists speaking at 4 Chicago colleges. And the IBM Foundation helped us launch our revamped web campaign against extremism at www.OneVoiceMovement.org.
While we make modest progress on the ground, we are mindful of the serious challenges facing the region. Leaders are pursuing courageous if cautious paths worthy of support: President Abbas has implemented measures against incitement, consolidated control and secured a cease-fire, while radicals clash with his police force and attack his Ministers. Prime Minister Sharon has steadily advanced the move to evacuate settlements from Gaza, while militants threaten his life and settlers mobilize against the disengagement. In the meantime, the majority remains silent as the leaders’ support erodes. We and a dozen other groups are working to buttress support for the path of conflict resolution this summer but frankly are concerned they will not be enough. Every one of us needs to do their part so this rare window of opportunity won’t be closed before us.