Emily Wachsmann went to Palestine on July 1, but she didn’t want any advanced publicity. She plans to work four weeks with the International Solidarity Movement – an organization that asks “internationals” to aid the war-weary Palestinian people. Wachsmann will join in such activities as clearing debris from Israeli roadblocks, paving Palestinian roads, escorting children to school, and helping ambulances get to the wounded. The ISM campaign is called, “Freedom of Movement.”

In an interview with the World Emily said any danger of going is, in a way, an underlying reason for the many “internationals” who decide to go. Not that they are drawn to danger, but they are drawn to assist people who are in even more danger, she said. “It is dangerous for the internationals,” she says, “but not nearly as dangerous as it is for the people who live there!” Israeli soldiers and armed militias are reluctant to attack non-Palestinians.

Although Internationals Tom Herndall was killed by Israeli tank fire and Rachel Corrie was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while doing the same kinds of work, Wachsmann said, the ISM has hundreds of volunteers who responded to their website: palsolidarity.org. After the death of Rachel Corrie, she said, ISM’s applications from volunteers increased by a ratio of 1 to 4.

Wachsmann, a 21-year old junior at the University of North Texas majoring in International Studies, doesn’t want to be thought of as brave. “I just want to publicize the work that’s being done in Palestine.” She adds, “A lot of people don’t really realize what military occupation is or how it affects an entire population of people.”

Wachsmann wants no personal attention, because she actually represents 200 Texans who have supported her trip.

Emily Wachsmann went to Palestine, even though she was aware of the perilous situation there. The reason she wanted no advanced publicity was the possibility that the Israelis might not let her in. Their military raided ISM’s East Jerusalem offices two months earlier. They arrested a staffer, two volunteers, and a lady from Human Rights Watch who was there having tea. But on July 4, Wachsman wrote the first of her reports from Palestine.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org

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