Tony Blair Meets With OneVoice Palestinian and Israeli Youth Leaders

Grassroots Youth Leaders Call for the Creation of a "Quintet", Adding a

Fifth Arm for Civil Society Movements

Jun 20, 2008, 01:00 ET from OneVoice Movement

    JERUSALEM, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- In a meeting at the American Colony
 Hotel earlier today, Tony Blair -- the Representative for the Middle East
 Quartet -- pledged his support for the OneVoice Movement, an international
 grassroots collective of Americans, Europeans, Arabs, Palestinians and
 Israelis, predominantly youth, using civic engagement to call for immediate
 and uninterrupted negotiations for a two-state solution that will lead to
 ending occupation and all kinds of violence and the establishment of a
 viable independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel.
     OneVoice youth leaders -- 25 Israelis and 25 Palestinians -- suggested
 the "Quartet" be expanded to a "Quintet," where the fifth arm would have
 representation from civil society movements like OneVoice. Youth leaders
 asked Mr. Blair for the Quartet's help in connecting them with
 international leaders, saying they find it difficult to access high-level
 officials with a vested interest in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process,
 such as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
     OneVoice youth leaders told Mr. Blair they are frustrated with the
 ongoing bloodshed and stalls in peace talks, and that elected officials
 must be both held accountable for and supported in their efforts at
 reaching a sustainable peace. As long as violence continues to escalate on
 both sides of the conflict, OneVoice leaders say they cannot rely on the
 peace process to sustain itself, or their governments to continue
 negotiating. Rather, they need the support of international leadership to
 bolster civic engagement.
     Mr. Blair said: "both nations face a great deal of difficulty, but
 there is no alternative to the two state solution. To change the realities
 on the ground the grassroots need to be involved in the process and that is
 exactly what OneVoice is doing."
     Mr. Blair recognized that there are limits to what politicians can do,
 and that grassroots mobilization of a moderate majority is the missing link
 to lasting and substantive negotiations.
     He urged OneVoice's youth leaders "the real change can only come from
 you -- the leaders of OneVoice, the grassroots -- make the change and the
 political leaders will follow you."
     Daniel Lubetzky, Founder of the OneVoice Movement was encouraged by
 today's meeting, viewing it as a positive step in empowering civil society
 committed to peace in the region. "We are honoured that Mr. Blair took the
 time to meet with our youth leaders. If negotiations are to lead to a
 sustainable and real peace, they cannot exist in isolation, entirely behind
 closed doors -- the people have to be incorporated into the process and
 feel connected to what goes on at the top levels," Lubetzky said. "We hope
 that this meeting is one step among many to making that critical
     About the OneVoice Movement:
     The OneVoice Movement is an international mainstream grassroots
 movement with over 600,000 signatories in roughly equal numbers both in
 Israel and in Palestine, and 3,000 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 guaranteeing an end to occupation and the establishment of a
 viable, independent Palestinian state at peace with Israel. OneVoice counts
 on its Board over 60 foremost dignitaries and business leaders across a
 wide spectrum of politics and beliefs, joining as OneVoice for conflict
 resolution. Learn more by visiting
     About the Middle East Quartet:
     The Middle East Quartet, sometimes call the Diplomatic Quartet or
 simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international entities
 involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian
 conflict. The Quartet includes the United States, Russia, the European
 Union and the United Nations.
     The group was established in Madrid in 2002, as a result of the
 escalating conflict in the Middle East by Spanish Prime Minister Aznar.
 Tony Blair is the Quartet's current Representative.

SOURCE OneVoice Movement