New York, October 6, 2010—OneVoice youth leaders Danny Shaket and Ahmad Omeir emphasized the need to take personal responsibility in ending the conflict during a briefing at the Buxton Initiative in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Buxton Initiative senior fellow Thomas R. Getman moderated the interfaith, intercultural briefing, titled “Faith in the Future: The Role of Youth in Ending the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Buxton Initiative founder and co-chair Ambassador J. Douglas Holladay delivered the opening remarks.
Both youth leaders stressed that individuals must take action in bringing about change rather than simply wait for elected officials to act. “If you want peace, you have to make a compromise,” said Ahmad. “That’s why it’s an asset in this movement that we have a partner.”
Ahmad explained the importance of being pragmatic in resolving the conflict, adding that while Palestinians dream of historic Palestine, the reality on the ground makes it impossible. “We can’t give up on our dreams,” he said. “But the two-state solution is the only way to achieve what is even close to our dreams.”
There was some concern from the audience that extremist voices might drown out hope for a two-state solution, to which Danny responded, “We must be more stubborn than the extremists and push for peace.”
Ahmad and Danny’s briefing at the Buxton Initiative came on the second day of the International Education Program tour of Washington, D.C., Virginia, and North Carolina.
Over the past nine days, Danny and Ahmad addressed the direct negotiations and the freeze on Israeli settlement construction during a meeting with Congressman Keith Ellison, spoke about their work as community leaders in Israel and Palestine at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and shared their personal stories at various university events.
This was not the first time OneVoice youth leaders were invited to speak at the Buxton Initiative. On September 11, 2009, Ambassador Holladay hosted OneVoice youth leaders Ari Eitan and Antwan Saca for a roundtable event, addressing how their religious convictions impact their approach to peace-building.