OneVoice discusses the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

Palestinian and Israeli political leaders led a discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at today’s all school assembly.

Speakers Ahmad Omeir and Adva Vilchiniski opened up the talk with stories of life in Palestine and Israel, respectively, and also discussed their work with OneVoice — a grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians and empowers them to push for a two-state solution.

Omeir and Vilchiniski then opened up the floor to questions and were pleasantly surprised at the response.

“You could feel the children’s interest in the topic,” Vilchiniski said. “I was shocked and impressed — very impressed — by their questions.”

One of the benefits of talking to students is that they aren’t polarized yet and are simply interested in learning about both sides, Omeir said.

“Young people are focused on understanding,” he said. “And that’s what we’re about: Understanding.”

Vilchiniski added that OneVoice is a movement of hope, “and what’s more hopeful than children?”

Learn more about OneVoice — and today’s speakers — at You can also follow the organization on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Your turn: Did you attend today’s event? What did you think of the speakers? Do you have an additional questions you’d like to ask? Leave a comment below!

Check out the full 2012-13 Speaker Series.


15 Responses to OneVoice discusses the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

  1. Evan LaBelle September 20, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Evan LaBelle
    I disagree with the two state solution. In an ideal world it would work but the problem is that neither country will be able to agree on boundaries because both will want more land. Also, if a boundary was made then both sides would want to have control over certain landmark areas and resources. For example, both sides would want control over
    jerusalem because the city has significance to both both muslims and jews. The decided boundaries may work for some time, however eventually more wars will break out because the side that does not have the land that it wants, will try to conquer that land. Unfortunately this kind of compromise that splits the land is impractical because both sides want control over the same areas.
    Perhaps a better way to solve this issue would be for them to become one country that is ran by both a palistinian leader and a jewish leader in a consulate. They would be part of the same country, however it would be a two part government which would have representation from both Jewish people and palistinians. This way both sides would have control over the land that is important to them and would have full right to live in the land. Palistinans in this new half and half country could be considered palistinians and
    jewish people could be known as jewish so no change of nationality would be neccesary. It would almost be like two countries, however they are united and share the same land.

  2. Jacquil Taylor September 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Why would the Palestinians want to be an independent nation, couldn’t that just cause more tension? If the Palestinians are an independent nation, it harder for them to get through on their own. For example, the Palestinians lack resources. What do you do with Palestinian refugees that would want to come back to their land? What would you also do with the settlements in the west bank?

  3. Maddie Brucker September 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    What one voice is doing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I think is the right thing to do. They stated that they wanted to try and find peace between these two places without violence which I always support and think is a good idea. Today another speaker at Beaver said, “power is knowledge” which is exactly what they were trying to do while they were talking to us at all school meeting. I think the only way to solve a problem is to make it well known first and then get everyone’s opinions on it and go in with the best one that comes up between us all. With that said I did not know much about this conflict before Onevoice came to talk to us but I think that what they are doing is right and a good way to be apart of a bigger change.

  4. Ani Soultanian September 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    As much as I would like to see a harmonious relationship between Palestinians and Israelis, I am wondering how One Voice plans to initiate positive interactions between these two groups. Throughout the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict, many people from both groups have been involved in extremist parties that condone a two state solution and seek benefits for solely their group. Many of the people belonging to the extremist parties have a strong enmity for the opposite group and do not want to coexist in region that each group considers its own. This intense hatred has been passed down from generation to generation, causing countless Palestinians and Israelis to refuse the idea of a two state solution. Therefore, I think the racial tensions create a significant threat to the two state solution and One Voice itself, which is a difficult obstacle to overcome.

  5. Richard Han September 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    I thought the One Voice speakers had very interesting things to say. I agree with what they had to say and planned to do. It seemed like they were taking steps in the right direction. They want to find a peaceful solution to this conflict and combat the problem it in a positive way. However, I am not entirely sure if this two state solution would work. It seems like the Palestinians and Israelis have so many differences that it would be very hard to live together peacefully. I am wondering what One Voice plans to do specifically to make sure there is no further violence between these two groups.

  6. George Wright September 24, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    I thought that it was an interesting discussion, however I would have preferred to learn more about the two state solution. I understand that both sides agree that it is a good solution to the conflict, however I’ve read that the Palestinians believe that the Israelis would accept the establishment of one state. Why are they not moving forward if they both agree that the two state solution is best? Do you believe that since it has been 64 years since the United Nations approved the partition plan for Palestine that the two state solution would never work?

  7. Riley September 24, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    The representatives from OneVoice did a great job of connecting to the audience by telling their personal stories. However, after reading many articles, it is clear that a 2-State solution is not in the near future, as the Israeli Prime Minister has stated many times. OneVoice failed to mention the problem of the Israeli settlements within the Palestine border. The Israeli government is paying thousands of its citizens to live in illegal Israeli settlements says Al Jazeera. Additionally, even though both countries say they want a two-state solution, the problem of borders is also in existence. Palestine wants its old borders to be reinstated, but Israel wishes them to stay as they are now according to the New York Times.

  8. Mia Rosenberg September 24, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    While I agree that a two state solution must occur between Israel and Palestine, I disagree with the one voice movement and how they spoke at the all school meeting. Actions speak louder than words and to me, their presentation was all “fluff” words. Yes they do promote peaceful relations between the people starting from a young age, the only real point they mentioned was the “flash mob-esque” protest they did in Israel where One Voice activists froze in the middle of a public area. This activity shows solidarity and that the people do not want to continue living or moving until a solution is procured. I wish that the representatives that came to speak had given more background on the Two-State-Solution because I know that many people were not and are not experts on the topic. Also I wish that the members had spoken more about what protests they have already done, and plans they have for the future. As I said before, actions speak louder than words especially for a crowd our age, and we do not need to be sugarcoated about a topic we should really know much about. It is important for us to be educated for we are the generation in charge of promoting change.

  9. Emily Cudhea-Pierce September 24, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I was very interested in the speech given by the leaders of the OneVoice Movement. There was one thing that confused and bothered me. When a student asked how long it would take for the conflict to die down if a two-state solution is reached. The answer was that if a two-state solution is reached, there will be no conflicts. This, to me, seems overly optimistic. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict has been going on for years. It is deeply rooted in many Israelis and Palestinians who feel connected to land that they believe is theirs. It is unrealistic to think that this conflict will just disappear as soon as a document is signed creating the two-state solution. It will take time for people to adjust to this solution, and for Israelis to move back to Israel from Palestinian territory and vice-versa. Who is to say that they want to move? As you said in the presentation, not all people in Palestine or Israel want the Two-State Solution. Do you expect this to change as soon as the solution is achieved? Change is not momentary, and it is difficult for anyone to deal with. Creating a Palestinian state will be momentary as far as borders are concerned, but changing people’s views of their own home country could take many years and is not guaranteed to make everyone happy.

  10. Hunter Flint September 24, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    The Israeli-Pakistani conflict has been going on for many years, and a solution could lead to peace for the area. From what I gather, most Israelis and Palestinians want a two-state solution. Since this solution is what pleases the most people in the area, I agree with the OneVoice Movement. I enjoy how this solution splits what both sides want right in the middle, it is a fair compromise. If either side was abolished, this would undoubtedly lead to violence. The One Voice Movement understands that the problem will never be solved without a difficult compromise for both sides. This is the best way to solve a conflict that has been going on for hundreds of years, with the least violence. However, it seems like a two-state solution is very far away from actually happening. Although I think the two-state solution is the best course of action, I wonder if there is a good way to expedite the process.

  11. Rebecca Wales September 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    I enjoyed having representatives from OneVoice Movement come to beaver to talk to the school. Their presentation really got me thinking about the topic. I agree that a two state solution is a good idea, but I also think that reaching a two state solution without major conflict remaining between the two states will be very difficult. One specific point of conflict may be jumping back in time to the borders from 1967. Much has happened between Israel and Palestine since those borders were put in place, and it will be very hard to get government on both sides to agree on these specific borders. Jumping back to those borders would also be similar to ignoring the struggle that has been going on for the past 45 years since those borders existed. Even though I have some doubts about this one part of their plan, I like their overall way of dealing with the conflict at hand. I also admire how they started as a small grassroots organization and have grown to be known internationally. They are definitely taking steps in the direction of a peaceful settlement.

  12. Rubber Ducky September 25, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    Do you think that it would ever be possible for the two state solution to work perfectly and have both sides be happy and share the land equally?

    I think that it is ridiculous that Israel and Pakistan have been fighting over land when they could be focusing on something bigger. I understand that Israel wants to be its own country and Pakistan wants to be there own country, but it seems like they have been fighting over this problem for some time now. I believe that they should become two states, but still be close and join forces that way they could still be powerful.

    • El Pollo Loco September 26, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      Palestine not Pakistan. Harmless mistake.

  13. Will Truslow September 26, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    Although I approve of what OneVoice is trying to do, I don’t believe that they can achieve their goal. I agree with them in the fact that the conflict should be ended by uniting the two states, however all they seem to be doing about it is spreading the word that the conflict is going on. They don’t seem to be doing anything truly concrete and worthwhile to the cause. My other issue is that during their presentation, they said that they expected the conflict to instantly dissolve once the states were united. This seemed way too hopeful to me. The conflict has been ongoing for such a long period of time, that I seriously doubt that all the hatred and turmoil will just disappear like that.

  14. El Pollo Loco September 26, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Are you sure a two state solution will work? Historically there has always been some sort of conflict in said region of the world, and even if a two state solution is reached, do you think that Israel and what might become Palestine will start to fight over other things? Many Palestinians do not consider Israel a real nation, and view them as people who are occupying their land and some Israelis view that palestinians the same! Why not let both countries exist without border or with border that mirror much of europe? You are able to travel freely back and forth between israel and what will be palestine!

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