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 www.OneMillionVoices.org.
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