Joint Israeli-Palestinian Expedition Sets Off for Antarctica

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An Israeli-Palestinian team has left the southern Chilean port city of Puerto Williams and begun a joint expedition to Antarctica, Israel Radio reported Friday morning.

The four Israelis and four Palestinians, who include Israeli mountaineer Doron Erel, are scheduled to reach the South Pole Saturday. They are sailing in two boats.

They plan to climb a 2,000-meter-high mountain, as an example of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation. On reaching the summit the group will collectively name the peak and conduct a short ceremony.

The expedition, titled "Breaking the Ice", is a peace mission initiated by the Tel Aviv-based Peres Peace Center, founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Israel Labour Party leader Shimon Peres.

Peres as well as Palestinian President Yasser Arafat telephoned the expedition members to wish them a successful journey before they set off.

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