New York, September 27, 2012 – The International Engagement Program (IEP) wrapped up its first tour of the fall semester, visiting schools, houses of worship, and social justice groups throughout New England from September 10-13.
IEP Director Ahmad Omeir of OneVoice Palestine shared with over 800 participants his most memorable experiences working on the ground and called on Americans to help him achieve a viable two-state solution.
We recently spoke Ahmad over the phone and asked him about his tour.
OneVoice: What was your most memorable part of the tour?
Ahmad: I think the event at Eitz Chayim Synagogue was the most memorable for me because I knew going in that I would receive most of the questions, and I wanted to let them see a sense of hope from the Palestinian side. Many of the participants said this was an eye-opening experience and it allowed them to see a new face of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
OneVoice: What can average Americans do to help you on the ground?
Ahmad: There are two things Americans can do. First, have an open mind in how they see the conflict and not be biased based on what is in the media. Second, they need to realize that to answer their interests they need to see the conflict in a balanced way. Therefore, Americans need to urge their leadership to be balanced in its moderation of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations; saying what needs to be said and taking the necessary steps that will permanently end the conflict.
OneVoice: Did this tour reinforce your belief in the two-state solution and how will it motivate you to continue your work?
Ahmad: There is a very high sense of skepticism and despair [surrounding the resolution of the conflict], and I have my own stories that reflect these feelings. But my experiences with the occupation push me and keep me going forward and I shared that with the audiences. For instance, as we spoke to the school-aged children, I noticed they were asking very good questions, which shows that on the educational level there is an important, positive step taken in regards to teaching them about the conflict. And in the end, this helps us on the ground.
OneVoice: What do audiences have to look forward to in the final tours of this academic semester?
Ahmad: They can expect to see more devoted youth leaders committed to ending the conflict. They will see it is a personal responsibility and comes out of a sense of urgency. I hope that the new audiences can see the two-state solution as in the international community’s interest to resolve ASAP.