TEL AVIV (REUTER) -Israeli tourism officials hope last week`s handover of most of the West Bank town of Hebron to Palestinian self-rule will project a more peaceful image to the world and calm the jitters of potential tourists. Israel`s tourism industry was reaping a peace dividend early last year until suicide bombings by Moslem militants stopped a surge in foreign visitors. In a sign of the changing times, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan have joined forces in the wake of the Hebron deal in an advertisement that urges Americans to visit the Holy Land. Tourist arrivals, including cruise ship passengers, dropped eight percent to 2.3 million in 1996 compared with the previous year, the hotel association said. The year had got off to a strong start. First-quarter arrivals were up 29 percent on the same period in 1995. But a wave of suicide bombings that killed 59 people in February and March also claimed tourism as a casualty. Hotel industry officials hope peace will not only alleviate security concerns but foster regional tour packages that include Egypt, Jordan and perhaps Lebanon and Syria. Meanwhile, Israel is gearing up for its 50th anniversay in 1998 and an anticipated influx of visitors for celebrations that have yet to be finalised but which officials said are likely to include an exhibition highlighting the nation`s achievements.