Ordinary Palestinians and Israelis Ask World Leaders at World Economic Forum in Davos, 'What Are You Willing to Do to End the Conflict?'

OneVoice Movement mobilizes citizens from across Israel, West Bank and Gaza

to say 'Enough!'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni,

And Vice Premier Shimon Peres Respond to 1,389 Activists from OneVoice

Movement with Commitment: 'We will Work For A Two-State Solution'

Jan 25, 2007, 00:00 ET from OneVoice Movement

    DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- In what Professor Klaus
 Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, termed
 as the first time ever that ordinary citizens have been able to address
 their heads of state directly at the Forum, young leaders of the grassroots
 movement OneVoice were given center stage during a plenary session packed
 with over 2,000 dignitaries and global business leaders. At the podium,
 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi
 Livni and Vice- Premier Shimon Peres each responded to both their citizens
 and their counterparts with candor.
     Professor Schwab introduced the session by explaining, "I have the
 privilege to share this key session, if not the most important, at this
 year's meeting." He added, "We thought we should give voice to the ordinary
 people and you should listen."
     A video-cast message from Nisreen Shaheen, the Executive Director of
 OneVoice Palestine -- surrounded by a large crowd of hundreds of Palestinians
 in Al Qasaba, the largest hall in Ramallah
 [http://assets.onevoicemovement.org/video/wef/ramallah.html] -- appeared on an
 oversized screen at the front of the forum.  Her presentation followed a
 powerful video showing tens of thousands of OneVoice Israeli and Palestinian
 activists mobilizing against extremism
     She said, "Enough promises, enough excuses, enough suffering ... Help
 us not to lose hope, help us strengthen this movement, help us strengthen
 our leaders, that they may sit down at the table and stand up with a fair
 and lasting peace agreement."
     "I've never seen one Palestinian speak with such assertiveness, let
 alone a group of thousands standing up so clearly for their independence
 but also for peace," said Bertie Lubner, a Jewish businessman who was in
 the audience. "It definitely gave me hope that there may be a hidden
 majority we can talk to on the other side."
     Video-cast from Tel Aviv, Adi Balderman, the OneVoice Israel Leadership
 Program Director, stated: "Each and every one of us [needs] to take action
 and personal responsibility in ensuring a better future. If the millions of
 moderate Israelis and Palestinians each take a small step, we will unleash
 the power of the people and reclaim our lives."
     Addressing elected representatives, she said: "The time has come to
 listen to the voice of the moderate majority, and to prevent violent
 extremists from hijacking our lives, the lives of millions of Israelis and
 Palestinians ... We will not accept any more excuses or delays."
     Karim Kawar, Ambassador to the US of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,
 said, "I was struck by the determination of these young women, flanked by
 hundreds of like-minded young people you don't normally see on TV. Maybe
 the young leaders we've been waiting for to start standing up and doing
 something to end this whole mess are finally coming out."
     From East Jerusalem, Saed Mashaal and Eran Schafferman, OneVoice
 Palestinian and Israeli Youth Leaders, respectively
 [http://assets.onevoicemovement.org/video/wef/jerusalem.html], surrounded
 by scores of supportive Israeli and Palestinian activists, spoke in unison
 to condemn violent extremism & intervention from foreign militants.
     Saed Mashaal said "Our city, Jerusalem, open for all religions, must
 help us exemplify a shared destiny for Palestinians and Israelis, a destiny
 of partnership for a better future. Let One Voice be heard form Jerusalem,
 a voice of moderate people from all over the world."
     Eran Schafferman said: "The fate of Israelis and Palestinians is shared
 and so is our conviction not to let extremist infiltrate and damage our
 cause for peace and prosperity."
     Tzipi Livni, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of
 Israel, said, "After watching together these wonderful youth, after
 listening to President Abbas, I have a feeling of sadness for lost
 opportunities, but also a great feeling of hope." She added, "But it is our
 responsibility as leaders to give them the hope. We must make a promise and
 fulfill ... the vision of two states living side by side in peace."
     Minister Livni acknowledged deep skepticism among many that this vision
 can come about, but explained "We cannot fail" and emphasized the necessity
 of a realignment of "Moderates committed to a solution vs. extremists
 opposed to this vision as a matter of ideology. Because we share the same
 vision, moderates must fight for the same goals ... disempower extremists
 and empower the moderates."
     Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority said, "As I heard
 these messages, hope rose in my heart that peace is possible, and overdue."
     President Abbas explained he always believed in the primacy of
 people-to- people relations and expressed hope that "These gatherings are
 what will lead to peace." He stated emphatically: "I am fully convinced
 that in spite of all the difficulties, peace is possible."
     President Abbas concluded, "The time has come to garner all the forces
 of goodwill ... I am fully prepared to do so ... Nothing is more important
 than peace, so that this strategic part of the world will become an oasis
 of peace and stability."
     Reflecting on the images of thousands of Israeli and Palestinian
 activists joining as OneVoice for a two-state solution, Shimon Peres, Vice
 Premier of Israel, said "I like to come to Davos because to me hope is like
 snow. It comes down from the mountain." And he emphasized that "This
 [Israeli] government is a two-state solution government [in terms of its
     "The shift in the psychological mindset of the leaders today is of
 tectonic significance," said Sean Cleary, CEO of Strategic Concepts and a
 long-time negotiator and mediator.
     In spite of very serious tensions, over the last few months, thousands
 of Israelis, and Palestinians from all across the West Bank and Gaza met
 under the auspices of the OneVoice Movement to debate and agree on
 statements representing mainstream nationalists from each side, people that
 are tired of lack of progress towards ending the conflict.
     The Founder of the OneVoice Movement, Daniel Lubetzky, attending the
 Davos session, explained: "We've been building this human infrastructure
 for five years, and, in spite of the horrible atmosphere, or perhaps
 because of it, we are gaining more members and more momentum. People are
 ready to stand up and say, 'Enough!'"
     The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization
 committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in
 partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Its Davos
 Summit is the seminal annual meeting where foremost business leaders, heads
 of state, and civil society leaders gather to discuss how to improve the
 state of the world.
     OneVoice is a mainstream nationalist grassroots movement with a quarter
 million Israeli and Palestinian members and 2,000 highly trained youth
 leaders. It aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore
 silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity, empowering
 them to demand accountability from elected representatives and work toward
 a two state solution. OneVoice counts on its Board over 60 foremost
 dignitaries and business leaders across a spectrum of politics and beliefs,
 joining as OneVoice against violent extremism and for a two-state solution.
     Video Footage Available at:
     Whole session can be seen via webstream, please copy and paste the
 following link into your browser:
     Or look for Session: Enough is Enough: Israel and the Palestinian
 Territories from main webcast page:
     TEL AVIV: Raluca Ganea & Nissim Duek, tel +972 3 6874055, cell +972 54
 668 0085; ralucag@unik.co.il
     RAMALLAH: Nisreen Shaheen, tel +972 2 295 1379, cell +972 599 328 741;
     NEW YORK: Shelley Shick, tel +1 212 897 3985 x103;

SOURCE OneVoice Movement