New York, May 20, 2011—OneVoice staff watched President Barack Obama's speech on Middle East policy with enthusiasm over his recognition that ordinary people can hold the key to Middle East peace.
"Sometimes, in the course of history, the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change," said President Obama. OneVoice has trained over 4,000 youth activists in Israel and Palestine precisely because we, as a movement, have always believed real change comes from the grassroots, sentiments echoed by the president. Our youth leaders across Israel and the West Bank are compelling a resolution to the conflict using the "moral force of nonviolence."
"Our Israeli and Palestinian youth activists choose hope over hate every day," said Dr. Howard Sumka, CEO of OneVoice. "They are breaking the shackles of the past and working for the promise of the future. They have the power to change the course of history and carve a peaceful, dignified future for generations to come."
OneVoice, among many other civil society organizations, have long said the status quo is unsustainable. We all know the basic contours for a fair and just peace agreement that would permanently end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two states for two peoples living in peace and security.
"At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever," said President Obama.
Such a peace, however, cannot be enforced on the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. Without their support, it will fail. They must be the driving force, propelling their leaders to take bold steps to end the conflict.