New York, September 22, 2011—Top Israeli cultural figures participated in OneVoice Israel’s event outside Tel Aviv’s Independence Hall on Thursday to encourage a bold Israeli response beyond this week’s anticipated UN showdown.
Hundreds crowded Rothschild Boulevard to hear several Israel Prize laureates, including Joseph Aggasi, Yehuda Bauer and David Harel, and prominent writers such as Sefi Rachlevsky and Yoram Kaniuk state their case in support of recognizing a Palestinian state to pave the way for negotiations. Also on hand were former Ambassadors Alon Liel and Ilan Baruch, Knesset members Nitzan Horowitz, Zahava Gal-On, and Dov Khenin, and Tel Aviv City Council Chair Yael Dayan.
“Recognition of a Palestinian state based on the ’67 border with agreed upon territorial exchanges counters the notion of a bi-national state and preserves the nature of Israel,” said OneVoice Israel Executive Director Tal Harris. “Israel’s support would also spoil any effort to delegitimize or internationally isolate us.”
OneVoice Israel also launched their online campaign this week, buoyed by the strong support from members of Israel’s elite, asking Israelis to consider the potential benefits of a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel in peace and security.
Online teaser advertisements on popular Web site Walla received widespread exposure and engaged around 40,000 people. “By providing an online space for citizens to openly voice their support or opposition for the UN vote and talk about it, we managed to involve them directly in the process,” said Harris. All for Peace radio has also been running radio spots produced by OneVoice Israel.
Continuing with the effort to involve Israeli citizens in shaping the national response to the UN vote and especially the aftermath, OneVoice Israel will invite the public on October 11 to join 50 roundtables, led by an equal number of high profile figures, in an unprecedented conversation about the conflict.
“In a nutshell, we believe that Israel can leverage the Palestinian motion and pin down the principle of two-states-for-two-people, which has been a central objective of present and past Israeli governments,” said Reut Institute President Gidi Grinstein, who will be one of the moderators at the event.
OneVoice’s office in Palestine also launched a campaign across the West Bank to support the Palestinian bid with the primary intent to mobilize thousands of Palestinians behind the two-state solution. Their activities will lay the basis for nonviolent and constructive responses in the aftermath of the vote.
Whether the UN vote comes to pass or not, OneVoice Israel’s focus will remain on rallying Israelis to demand their leaders present a bold Israeli peace plan and immediately return to negotiations.
“We have no alternatives but to pursue the two-state solution to guarantee peace, security and prosperity for Israel,” said Harris. “We need our leaders to negotiate a historic agreement that enables Israel and the new State of Palestine to exist side by side and start building a brighter future for all of us.”
Listen to the radio story broadcast by PRI’s The World.
Read the story published in Haaretz.