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Israeli Bus Companies Plan to Begin Service to Jordan

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Israelis will soon be able to travel to Jordan by public transportation. The Dan bus cooperative won a bid to start a bus line between Tel Aviv and the Jordanian capital of Amman.

The line is expected to start in 45 days and tickets will cost $7 each, Israel Radio reported.

Other Israeli-Jordanian bus route are being planned.

In addition, United Tours plans to establish a connection between Eilat and Aqaba in the south.

And a travel agency in Nazareth is working on a connection that will run from Haifa and Nazareth to Irbid in northern Jordan, then on to Amman.

Amid the plans for increased travel links between Israel and Jordan, however, there were signs in Jordan that the 13-month-old peace with the Jewish state still does not sit well with some.

The federation of Jordanian writers recently expelled comedy writer Hisham Yanis for violating a ban on contacts with Israel.

Yanis and partner Nabil Sawalha recently brought their stand-up comedy act to Israel, where they performed sketches that included comic looks at the regional peace process.

The two comedians, who met with Prime Minister Shimon Peres last week, told the Israeli leader that they consider him the architect of the peace process and that they had wanted to come to Israel and offer their support for his efforts.

Peres described that two as “emissaries of peace,” adding that “we all have a need for good spirits and humor.”

But the Jordanian writers federation viewed the visit with a less appreciative eye.

A member of the federation’s executive board was quoted as saying that Yanis did not respond to a request not to visit Israel. The trip violated the federation’s charter, which bans any dealings with the “Israeli enemy,” the board members said.

Professional unions in Jordan have already banned or disciplined at least 12 writers, journalists, artists, doctors and engineers for engaging in contacts with Israelis.

King Hussein has responded to the unions’ actions by warning the professional groups not to interfere in politics and by directing the government to amend laws governing their operations.

In a related development, Jordan’s Justice Ministry ordered that charges be dropped against Jordanians convicted of having contacts with Israel, Israel Radio recently reported.

The decree affects about 30 Jordanians who are in prison or were sentenced to prison in absentia.

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