One voice - but the voice of power and injustice
The organisers, as they often do, misled bands that were invited to the concert about their political line. The truth is that when a real grass roots movement called “Another voice” was spontaneously founded to present the voice of Palestinians One Voice attacked the movement very viciously and consistently made many false accusations. Five of the eight performers pulled out from the concert after they had been contacted by Another Voice regarding the political line of the organisation One Voice. The performers released statements confirming their cancellation stating that they had been misled by One Voice. One Voice subsequently cancelled the event claiming that “threats (had been) made against the celebrities”, but no evidence were given with these accusations. We were in fact told One Voice would provide more information regarding these alleged 'threats' but we are still waiting. A senior Palestinian official dismissed the claims that threats had led to the cancellation and stated that the Palestinian presidential guard, who would have been responsible for security arrangements in Jericho, 'are reliable' and that 'no one has ever cancelled an event in Palestine because of the security services'.

The claims from One Voice about Another Voice once more demonstrate that as an organisation they care little for the grassroots they claim to represent and have no interest in empowering Palestinians against extremists. Instead what they have done is undermine a political opponent by making false accusations about a non-violent and grassroots organisation (Another Voice). They also implied that the group is 'extremist' and made threats to their own group. One Voice founder Daniel Lubetzky has always referred to any activist or organization which believes in the one-state solution as 'extremist' despite the fact that they can make a strong argument for a two-state solution not being able to achieve long term 'peace'. Another Voice is an organisation who have worked and cooperated with individuals, such as those who work within Check Point Watch, and organisations who call for a two-state solution. However unlike One Voice this organisation and individuals will work with anyone who is looking and working towards a better future without using the type of tactics that One Voice use to discredit their opponents.

One Voice was first set up as an organisation in 2002 and has been active in the region ever since then. One Voice claims to “empower” the silent 'moderate' majority and give a platform for people to voice their opinions and speak out. They do this by asking Palestinians and Israelis to answer a survey about 'the ten most' contentious issues regarding the conflict. However this is oversimplified and misleading as if fails to address any of the key elements required for just and lasting peace. Much of the article in fact subordinates Palestinian interests to that of the Israelis by justifying the use of settlement blocs, avoiding the issue of the refugees' right of return and avoiding the framework of international law. The language on website of Once Voice seems to be similar to that used by many Israeli propagandists, for example if fails to use the word 'occupation' anywhere on the website.

Furthermore, many are disturbed by the manner in which One Voice has been gathering support for their campaign. It has been discovered that many Palestinians and Israelis have signed on without access to the 10 pillars or proper understanding of the One Voice initiative. Many individuals and organizations which have been listed as endorsers, including Bishop Atallah Hanna, have pulled out upon closer examination of what One Voice stands for. Also several alleged endorsers, including President Mahmoud Abbas, were listed without their prior knowledge or consent. Their collection of signatures has been proved controversial many times as well and this would have been demonstrated at the concert as people attending the event would have been required to sign One Voice's mandate before entering.

Many of their high profile sponsors, both individuals and companies, are known supporters of Israel. These include companies that invest heavily in Israel such as IBM and individuals, including people such as Labor Kenesst member and former IDF General Matan Vilnai. This individual was a minister during Operation Defensive Shield and heavily supported the offensive that led to Israeli forces reoccupying all of the areas in the West Bank which had been handed to the Palestinian National Authority as part of the Oslo Accords. This move was seen by many as the 'final nail in the coffin' of these agreements and undermined the entire peace process.

One Palestinian economic student who studies at Berzeit University when answering claims made by One Voice that Another Voice does not want peace said that 'Of course me and my fellow students want peace' our future relies on it 'what would I do with degree after four years of studying if we never get peace'. He further went on to say that 'One Voice has always been the Israeli voice and never tried to speak for Palestinians'. The organisation One Voice has always claimed to represent what the people of the region want but the student above, like many others we talked to, clearly does not agree.

Naji Mohamed
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