OneVoice Israel lends support to Knesset members in launching two-state solution lobby

This is a Cross-Post from the OneVoice Movement

Tel Aviv, July 19, 2010—OneVoice Israel (OVI) lends support to Knesset Member Yoel Hasson (Kadima) in launching the first Knesset Lobby for the Two-State Solution on Sunday to promote an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that addresses all final-status issues.

This is the first time a Knesset lobby, akin to a congressional caucus in the United States, is being formulated to advance a direct political solution with the Palestinians. The lobby is united in calling for an Israeli peace initiative based on two states for two peoples that ensures the state’s long-term regional security and prosperity.

“We are now realizing that giving up the Jewish people’s prerogative on the whole of Israel is hard, but it’s the only real choice we have,” said Hasson. “The dangers facing Israel require us to take a bold and creative initiative in the spirit of compromise and a two-state solution to ensure a Jewish and democratic identity for Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his “vision of peace” supporting “two free peoples living side by side in this small land, with good neighborly relations and mutual respect” in a foreign policy speech delivered at Bar-Ilan University in June 2009. The lobby will work hard to turn the vision into a reality and a foster a commitment for sincere negotiations with the Palestinians.

OVI conceived the idea of the lobby and bought it to Yoel Hasson to establish and chair the group. A Knesset lobby consists of parliamentarians joining forces to influence legislation or decision-making on a particular issue. The movement does not have a direct role in the lobby’s decisions or actions.

“A lobby focused on making the two-state solution a reality is incredibly important,” said OVI Executive Director Tal Harris. “As a grassroots movement, our role is to connect the people to the political process.  We call on all Israelis who know that two states for two peoples is the only right and appropriate solution to stand up and be part of the process.”

OVI will work to connect the lobby’s members with the Israeli public through round-table discussions, advocating for the two-state solution. OVI will also organize conferences, tours, and other activities for the lobby to enhance its impact in Israel and internationally.

The initiative holds neither a leftist nor rightist agenda, but rather the protection of the ideals that formed the basis for the creation of the state of Israel. The only way to maintain the Jewish character and majority in Israel, guarantee security, progress Israel’s growth, and reach a just solution with the Palestinians is to promote a peace agreement based on the two-state solution. This represents the will of the majority of the Israeli public and serves the nation’s best interests.

Lobby Chairman Yoel Hasson is a member of Kadima, the largest political party in Israel, and is serving his second term in government, where he chairs the Knesset’s State Control Committee. He is a member of OneVoice’s board of advisors.

OneVoice is an international mainstream grassroots movement that aims to amplify the voice of Israeli and Palestinian moderates, empowering them to seize back the agenda for conflict resolution and demand that their leaders achieve a two-state solution. The movement has independent Israeli and Palestinian offices working in parallel to appeal to the national self interests of their own societies with credentials enabling them to unite people within each society across the religious and political spectrum.