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Joint Israeli-Palestinian Expedition Conquers Antarctic Mountain
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of BBC/PBS/Associated Press

BBC/PBS/Associated Press, January 21, 2004
Posted: December 1st, 2006

Eight Palestinians and Israelis on Thursday climbed an unconquered Antarctic mountain to prove that "our people can and deserve to live together in peace and friendship. We have named it `Mountain of Israeli-Palestinian Friendship,'" expedition leader Heskel Nathanial said by satellite telephone from the peak of the snow-capped, windy 2,770-foot mountain near the Bruce plateau in Antarctica. "By reaching its summit, we have proved that Palestinians and Israelis can cooperate with one another with mutual respect and trust," Nathaniel said, reading from a statement agreed upon by the four Jews and four Arabs in the "Breaking the Ice Expedition." Two of the Palestinians on the expedition spent time in Israeli prisons -- one for attacking Israeli soldiers and another who was accused of terrorism. Two of the Israelis are former members of an elite commando unit. The goal of the expedition was to show that Israelis and Palestinians could work as a team by climbing an unnamed mountain and then pronouncing it as the first step in a journey to end violence in the Middle East. Despite the participants' efforts to heal religious divisions, political disagreements arose within the group. But in the end, they were able to better see the other side's point of view. During the group's political discussions, members agreed that peace is achievable if people are willing to listen. "We cannot sit and wait for the government to do work for us," Erel said. "Peace can only be made by the people, not the government."

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