The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

    Israeli, Palestinian Youths Promote Cooperation

    A group of Israeli and Palestinian youth activists spoke at
    UCSD last week as part of an effort to spread a message of peace for their
    embattled home region and advocate a two-state solution to the ongoing
    Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    The OneVoice movement, an international nonpartisan
    grassroots organization, stopped in San Diego
    on April 24 for the final leg of its Southern California
    tour. Sponsored by the Americans for Informed Democracy and the Organization
    for Muslim and Jewish Awareness, the event allowed OneVoice to spread awareness
    about ways to promote peace in the region.

    OneVoice representative Shani Gershon addresses a crowd of students April 24 as part of the organization’s tour of Southern California. The group promotes peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Will Parson/Guardian)

    OneVoice representative Laurel Rapp said it is not always
    clear to people outside of Palestine
    and Israel that
    the region’s inhabitants want to arrive at an agreement through nonviolent

    In order to further their goal of spreading this sentiment,
    the organization seeks to acquire one million signatures by the end of the year
    from those sympathetic to the cause in order to demonstrate to the leadership
    and people on both sides of the conflict that demand for peaceful resolution
    exists among those affected by the situation.

    “The majority [of Israelis and Palestinians] want to achieve
    resolution nonviolently,” Rapp said. “There are about 300,000 Israelis and
    300,000 Palestinians who have signed the OneVoice mandate. Our goal isn’t to
    change people’s minds but to start a thinking process. It’s already what most
    people want and we’re just amplifying the voice of the Palestinian and Israeli

    Shani Gershon, a OneVoice representative from Jerusalem,
    spoke about the challenges she faces in Israel
    while handing out pamphlets that publicize the organization’s mandate.

    “They would read it and say it’s great but wouldn’t want to
    sign because they thought the Palestinians would not sign it,” she said. “What
    motivated them was that I told them I had a Palestinian counterpart saying the
    exact same thing.”

    Co-president of OMJA and Eleanor
    Roosevelt College

    sophomore Marina Triner, who lived in Israel,
    said that as an American student she has had the opportunity to view the
    Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a point of view to which she would not
    otherwise be exposed to.

    “I believe it’s my duty to impact the situation in my home
    country because I am removed from the events that are taking place and can
    think clearly and understand that Muslims and Jews are alike and that they must
    begin to communicate,” she said.

    Rapp said that OneVoice differs from other
    conflict-resolution groups in that it does not strive for immediate peace, but rather
    works to mobilize people to demand more of the region’s leaders.

    “When you hear ‘peace group,’ you sideline them in a box
    because some are unrealistic, but [OneVoice] is more neutral,” she said.

    Triner said that one of OneVoice’s primary goals is to
    influence members of the youth demographic, who will eventually inherit the
    problems that exist in the region today.

    “As young people, we have the passion and energy to make a
    change, and to show other people our age how much they can do for the world,”
    Triner said. “It’s our responsibility to make these things happen. Too much
    blood has been spilled already and it needs to end.”

    A.I.D. President Poorja Nair said that OneVoice’s efforts
    play a significant role in properly educating young people about the situation
    in the Middle East.

    “Being informed is important for everyone, not just for
    those with direct family or religious connections to the conflict,” Nair said.
    “In general, as college students, it is easy to be insulated in our own world
    and stay apathetic to the news, but these issues affect people worldwide and
    it’s important to think about their impact.”

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