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JORDAN OPENS ISRAEL MISSION IN QUIET RITES

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Jordan on Sunday established the second Arab mission in the Jewish state, an occasion marked by a quiet flag-raising that contrasted with flag-burning protests against the opening of an Israeli mission in Jordan.

"We sincerely hope this day will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in the region as a whole . . . that future generations will have the peace of mind and tranquility that past generations so painfully lacked," said Omar Rifai, a Jordanian Foreign Ministry official who raised the flag.Standing beside a framed picture of Jordan's King Hussein at the embassy's temporary quarters in a suite at the beachfront Dan Hotel, a beaming Rifai received a bouquet of flowers sent by Israel's army.

The ceremony was low-key compared to the pomp that has typified Jordanian-Israeli peacemaking. Israelis have been critical of all the ceremonies in light of continuing terror attacks and difficulties in talks with Syria and the Palestinians.

The flag-raising drew even the normally blase cafe crowd out of their chairs to watch as workers hung Jordan's red, green, black and white flag at the hotel.

"I fought the Jordanians," said Shlomo, a taxi driver. "Then we saw their flag on their armored personnel carriers. This is a radical change. I'm happy."

It was a far cry from the scene earlier Sunday in Amman, Jordan, where Muslim demonstrators burned Israeli flags in protest of the opening of a mission for the Jewish state. It is the second for Israel in the Arab world after Egypt, opened in 1980.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director Yoav Biran inaugurated the Israeli embassy at temporary premises in the Forte Grand Hotel, located in an Amman neighborhood known as a hub for Muslim fundamentalists opposed to peace.

Dozens of armored vehicles and scores of policemen carrying assault rifles sealed off streets leading to the hotel and armed policemen were posted on the roofs of nearby buildings.