Israeli and Palestinian youth leaders from OneVoice, a non-partisan grassroots organization seeking to bring reconciliation to the Middle East, attended a forum at UC Irvine’s Social Science Lecture Hall 100 on Thursday, March 7. The forum, organized by the Department of International studies, served to provoke thinking by asking both sides: ‘Ma Ata Muchan La’asot le’Siyum HaSechsuf?’ (in Hebrew) and ‘Shoo Dourak?’ (in Arabic) or ‘What Are You Willing to Do [to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict]?’
Keynote speakers were Dalia Labadi and Sagi Rasmovich, young Palestinian and Israeli activists, respectively, who shared their experiences in the Middle East and expressed their support for OneVoice.
Labadi, born in Jenin, Palestine, received her B.A. in Business Administration and Marketing from the Arab American University and her Master’s degree from Al-Quds University in Abu Dis. She speaks Arabic, French and English, and translates for Human Rights Watch and Jenin municipality. Labadi is a devout OneVoice youth leader, spreading the enthusiasm of her uncle, Mahmoud Labadi, a founding board member of OneVoice and former Palestinian Legislative Council speaker.
Rasmovich, born and raised in Havatzlet Hasharon, Israel, is a third-year student of communications at Netanya College and a two-year member of OneVoice. Before he began his studies, Rasmovich was a fitness combat instructor at the officer’s training academy in Israel Defense Forces. Like Labadi, Rasmovich lost a friend due to fighting between the two groups; and like Labadi, Rasmovich transformed his anger for the better, hoping to make positive changes for the future of Israel and Palestine.
‘If we want to achieve anything, we must do it step-by-step,’ Labadi said. ‘The two states solution is one thing the opposite sides agreed to, both want two independent states.’
OneVoice, created in 2002, seeks to help unify Israelis and Palestinians by creating two separate states. The group has already gathered a quarter million ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, the majority of whom are moderates, who wish for peace and prosperity. OneVoice also aims to give both groups the tools to define their own future as well as to protect themselves from tyranny or absolute militarism.
OneVoice urges Israelis and Palestinians to establish compromises that would ensure permanent peace and end suffering in the Middle East.
The organization has also asked other countries to join in on the movement by visiting college campuses and universities in England all of eastern Canada and various parts of the United States
Filed Under: News