BREAKING THE ICE - 2004
4 Palestiniens et 4 Israéliens
Communiqué n°6 (19th January 2004)
Fifteen days after departing from Puerto Williams, Chile on the ocean-going yacht Pelagic Australis and after a one-day delay due to bad weather, the members of the Israeli-Palestinian Antarctic peace expedition known as "Breaking the Ice" achieved their objective, scaling the summit of an unclimbed mountain near Prospect Point on the Antarctic Peninsula and dedicating their efforts to peace.
Here is the statement read on the top of the mountain :
"We, the members of Breaking the Ice, the Israeli-Palestinian expedition to Antarctica, having reached the conclusion of a long journey by land and sea from our homes in the Middle East to the southernmost reaches of the earth, now stand atop this unnamed mountain. By reaching its summit we have proven that Palestinians and Israelis can cooperate with one another with mutual respect and trust. Despite the deep differences that exist between us, we have shown that we can carry on a sincere and meaningful dialogue. We join together in rejecting the use of violence in the solution of our problems and hereby declare that our peoples can and deserve to live together in peace and friendship. In expression of these beliefs and desires we hereby name this mountain "The Mountain of Israeli-Palestinian Friendship".
Communiqué n°5 (12th January 2004)
There's plenty of time for conversation and no lack of it. The subjects range from politics to family matters - children, professions, health and lifestyles. "You see," says Palestinian team member Suleiman al-Khatib, "we're not that different from one another. All of us have the same problems and we share the same desires. This is why I think that we can learn to live together, side by side." On this morning there's excitement in the air. On Hovgaard Island the members of Breaking the Ice are about to climb their first mountain. This will be a training session meant to help develop the skills required for the final trek to an unclimbed peak on the mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula...
Communiqué n° 4 (05th January 2004)
At Deception Island, in a sea-filled volcano crater, Pelagic Australis tied its mooring line to the rotting remains of an old wooden boat, the remnant of an abandoned Chilean whaling station that operated here from 1910 to 1931. Several hours later, our sister ship Pelagic, carrying the expedition's team of mountain guides and its physician, Arik Shechter, pulled into the same shore. After days of rocking and rolling on the rough seas of the Darwin Passage, the teams on both boats were happy at the prospect of getting a peaceful night's sleep, uninterrupted by all-night watches on deck.
Communiqué n° 3 (04th January 2004)
The storm hit us like the overture to an opera -- a wild, dramatic clash of weather systems that seemed to be setting the stage for an epic saga.
After two days of smooth sailing (relative to these climes) some of us aboard Pelagic Australis were beginning to think that the horror stories they'd heard about sailing across the Drake Passage from Chile to Antarctica had been blown out of proportion. Yes, some were seasick and others drowsy from pills to prevent seasickness but, all in all, the Drake, named after 16th century English explorer (and, say some, pirate) Sir Francis Drake, had been anything but horrific.
Communiqué n° 2 (03rd January 2004)
The Pelagic Australis has just crossed 60° S, now truly being in Antarctic Waters and within the area of the Antarctic Treaty. However, a book found on the boat describes what some of the crew (especially seasick Suleiman and cameraman Colin) really don't want to hear:
"You've noted the way cyclonic movements race across the Southern Ocean - Indian or Pacific, it's much the same. You've learnt the signs for shifts of winds - the slight clearing in the south-western sky, a movement in rising cloud, then the swift sudden shift. It's the same off the Horn, except the wind is madder there, the shifts faster, nights longer, seas higher, ice nearer.... You get no sleep.
Communiqué n° 1 (02nd January 2004)
Psychological challenges will play a major role. How will Israeli Special Forces veteran Avihu Shoshani be able to overcome his distaste for the actions of Suleiman al-Khatib, a Fatah Organization activist? As al-Khatib made a farewell phone call to Yasser Arafat, Shoshani stood on the side shaking his head. "Just like that old guy, Suleiman was also in jail for attacking Israelis. Now he says he's abandoned violence in favor of diplomacy. So why's he making a folk hero out of a guy who murdered Jews?"
THE OTHER FOLLOW UP OF THE SEASON