The past week has been filled with disturbing news from the Middle East. In a time of great hopelessness, what a relief to open my inbox to read the message below. It comes from two youth activists in the region, one Palestinian and one Israeli, who are working to create a better future for their people.  Saed Bilbeisi and Elad Dunayevsky are young leaders with OneVoice, a grassroots, non-partisan Israeli-Palestinian group that empowers moderates to stand up against extremism and seize back the agenda for conflict resolution. At a time when extremists are once again dominating the agenda, its need to exist and to deliver could not be more crucial.

Here’s what they write:

“There are rockets flying into Israel’s Northern towns as far down as Haifa as we write this, while the people of Gaza are in fear for their homes and lives, without electricity and running water. People are suffering, people are dying and people are afraid. It’s a crisis. We are writing to tell you though not to give up on us, or to give up on hope for an end to the conflict.

The situation today makes it very difficult to talk about conflict resolution – to see an end to the conflict. Sometimes it is easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, at the moment the tunnel is dark. But this crisis and this conflict will end, and we say that with sobriety and rationality. As much as we feel helpless today, as rational people we must see any crisis as an opportunity to rise up and overcome the reasons that brought that crisis.

The situation will come to an end, when we do not know. In the meantime both people suffer so badly. Believe us that no-one is happy with this life. We want everyone around the world to know that we, and many friends and colleagues like us at OneVoice, are working to change this situation. We are ready. We are ready to do anything necessary to help end this situation. We have done so many activities and introduced so many people to OneVoice and it always gives them hope and energy. We can not and will not lose all of this however hard it is at this moment. We will strive to improve this life.

A resolution to the conflict may seem like a dream, but let us dream it and keep helping us do whatever we have to do to make it a reality. The day will never come when Israelis and Palestinians are prepared to accept living with this situation. How far we are from the day when we have a situation we will accept is hard to say, but we will work for it, even as the fighter jets and rockets go overhead, we will work for it.”

For more information about OneVoice, visit www.onevoicemovement.org or contact Jake Hayman.

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