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King Seeks More Support for Normalizing Israeli Ties

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Jordan’s King Hussein has gone on the offensive against Hardline Jordanian groups opposed to normalizing ties with Israel.

Hussein, in an effort to bolster support for the peace treaty he signed with Israel in October, this week invited members of the opposition from both houses of the Jordanian Parliament to meet with him.

Hussein told the parliamentarians that he intended to implement the historic accord both in letter and spirit.

Hussein appeared with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in an interview that was broadcast in Israel on Thursday, when the Jewish state celebrated its 47th Independence Day.

The joint interview was filmed at Hussein’s palace near the Jordanian port city of Aqaba on Monday, when Rabin, his wife, Leah, and their children and grandchildren spent the day touring Jordan.

In the interview, Rabin called the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty the greatest achievement of his career. He also termed it a cornerstone for a comprehensive Middle East peace.

Hussein said in the interview that he hoped to speed up normalization of ties with Israel in order to make up for lost time.

Despite the efforts of both leaders to advance the peace between their peoples, other developments reflect a different view among some Jordanians, more than half of whom are of Palestinian origin.

Israel Television reported that a Jordanian folklore troupe scheduled to participate in a dance festival in Ra’anana canceled the performance after a Jordanian artists’ union threatened to boycott the troupe if it made the visit.

Last week, Jordan’s association of dentists said it was sticking to a decision to ban members from treating Israelis other than in emergencies.

Similar directives against having dealings with Israelis have already been issued by other Jordanian professional associations, including those serving writers, doctors, lawyers and engineers.

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