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Guest blogger Emily Garrett is an intern with the Case Foundation.
On my second day as an intern here at the Case Foundation, I had the exciting opportunity to join several of my new coworkers in a meeting with OneVoice. OneVoice Washington represents the international movement of Americans, Palestinians, Israelis, Europeans, Muslims, Jews, and Christians who support peace negotiations to resolve the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and an end of occupation.
As a Middle Eastern Studies major at Northwestern University and having spent some time in the Middle East, I was particularly eager to learn more about what One Voice was seeing on the ground. OneVoice was represented by two of its executives, Amanda Fazzone and Darya Shaikh, a pollster from Palestine, Dr. Nader Said, a pollster from Israel, Mina Zemach and a pollster from the Northern Irish peace process, Dr. Collin Irwin. I was particularly excited to meet Dr. Irwin as I am fascinated by the idea of applying concepts from the Northern Irish peace process to the Middle East and personally idolize George Mitchell, newly appointed special envoy to the Middle East and former Northern Irish peace negotiator.
Through intense polling, OneVoice has found that the majority of both Palestinians and Israelis are hopeful for a two state solution and ready to actively engage in the peace process. OneVoice has been influential in promoting these findings by mobilizing youth (ages 18-35) through leadership training and various programming. It is their hope that this generation of Palestinians and Israelis will be the generation that fights for peace and for a two state solution.
OneVoice presented some very exciting data detailing how close the majority of Palestinians and Israelis actually are on the peace discussion. To gather this data, OneVoice pollsters asked questions on a scale of unacceptable, tolerable, acceptable, desirable, and essential to insure they received the most detailed knowledge of local opinions. However, it seems that some goals for the peace process differ between Israelis and Palestinians. For example:
- Palestinians are most concerned about “establishing an independent sovereign state of Palestine,” “the rights of refugees” and “an agreement on the future of Jerusalem.”
- Israelis are most concerned about “security for Israel,” “agreement on the future of Jerusalem,” and “the rights to resources.”
But there is good news!
- 74% of Palestinians and 78% of Israelis willing to accept a two state solution
- 94% of Palestinians and 60% of Israelis find a regional solution for water and natural resources “essential or desirable”
- 63% of Palestinians and 59% of Israelis are in favor of mutual recognitions of the states of Israel and the state of Palestine
- 72% of Palestinians and 63% of Israelis want “an agreement to be the end of the conflict”
More detailed poll results can be found on the OneVoice website.