Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Sunday, April 29 2012 - 07:48
OneVoice's Palestinian activists urge Israeli response to Arab Peace Initiative
NEW YORK, Apr. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

     From a village near Jenin that borders on the 1967 line, OneVoice 
Palestine youth activists and locals released into Israel hundreds of helium 
balloons carrying the text of the Arab Peace Initiative on Saturday, drawing 
attention toward this historic opportunity.

     (Photo: )

     (Logo: )

     Hundreds of locals, wearing flag caps of countries supporting the regional 
peace plan, participated in the activity, which was co-sponsored by Jenin's 
governor and the municipality, to mark the document's tenth anniversary. They 
called on all Israelis to pressure their politicians into accepting the 
initiative as a framework for serious regional negotiations to achieve the 
two-state solution and end the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jenin Deputy Governor 
Ahmad al-Qassam, Minister of Prisoner Affairs Ashraf al-Ajrami, Fatah spokesman 
Mahmoud Labadi, and other municipal officials also attended the 
headline-grabbing event.

     "We're urging the Israeli public to demand from their government a real  
response to the Arab Peace Initiative," said Samer Makhlouf 
[ ], executive director of OneVoice Palestine. "The 
document has never been withdrawn or rejected by any Arab state, but despite 
its apparent resilience, we cannot expect it stay on the table forever."

     Exactly 10 years ago, the 22 Arab League member states came together in 
Beirut to propose a peace plan to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Arab Peace 
Initiative [!arab-peace-initiative ] offered a 
comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the 
normalization of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It 
represented an abrupt about-face, from the League's refusal to engage with 
Israel to the potential for a new era of regional stability and cooperation. 
While not an end-point for negotiations, the document sets a positive new 
starting point.

     Unfortunately, Israel never accepted the Arab Peace Initiative as a basis 
for peace discussions. Among Ariel Sharon's 14 reservations to the 2003 Road 
Map, reservation #10 explicitly rejected the Arab Peace Initiative. Since then, 
it has lain dormant.

     "Accepting the Arab Peace Initiative as a framework for serious regional 
negotiations is a far better approach than outright rejection wrapped in 
unsupportable assertions that Israel has done everything it can for peace over 
the past 64 years and the Palestinians have only been obstructionist," said 
OneVoice CEO Howard Sumka [ ].

     The event is part of OneVoice Palestine's campaign, launched in February, 
demanding the Israeli government to halt its settlement policy and return to 
negotiations on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative. From tree plantings 
] in Hebron and Bethlehem and distribution of flyers and bumper stickers 
] across the West Bank, to an online campaign with banners on top local news 
sites - OneVoice Palestine is creating momentum for the peace plan.

     Separately, OneVoice Israel is complementing the effort though parallel 
action, igniting conversations 
 about the Arab Peace Initiative across their eight university chapters, from 
Haifa to Sderot. Next month, they will mobilize people in the heart of Tel 
Aviv, bringing prominent public figures to make soap-box speeches while a giant 
ice cube containing the Arab Peace Initiative text slowly melts away. Working 
with the growing Two-State Solution Caucus, they will then deliver their 
message loudly in the Knesset.

     OneVoice [ ] is an international 
grassroots movement that aims to amplify the voice of Israeli and Palestinian 
moderates, empowering them to demand a two-state solution. The movement 
educates and trains Israeli and Palestinian youth in leadership skills, 
non-violent activism, and democratic principles.

    SOURCE: The OneVoice Movement

   CONTACT: Ivan Karakashian
            Communications Director
            PeaceWorks Foundation
            OneVoice Movement
            +1-212-897-3985 x 124
            Fax: +1-212-897-3986