Thu, 03/16/2000 - 19:00
Curiously, a man purporting to be an emissary of Syrian President Hafez Assad attended a wedding Saturday night at the Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan and “approached groups” of people with an invitation to go to Syria, according to one of the guests, Sam Domb. He said he did not know if anyone accepted. The latest Israeli West Bank transfer now gives the Palestinians control of more than 40 percent of the West Bank. Although the village of Anata, a Palestinian village of about 8,500 six miles from the north-east border of Jerusalem, had initially been intended to be included in the transfer, Barak changed his mind at the last minute because of pressure from right-wing members of his fragile coalition government. Yehudit Tayar, director-general of the foreign desk of the Yesha Council, which represents Israeli settlers, said her group was “very pleased the prime minister changed his mind and realized the public pressure would not allow him to divide Jerusalem. We expect him to protect Jewish interests, and what more important interest is there than the eternal capital of Israel.” In a phone interview, Tayar explained that Anata is “right next to Jerusalem; it’s connected to it, and it exposes Jerusalem to being divided.” Barak reiterated Tuesday that he has no intention of dividing Jerusalem, saying that the unity of the city was “a priority for the government of Israel.” “Jerusalem, united, wide, under the sovereignty, the capital of Israel forever, the heart of the Jewish people,” he told reporters Monday. “This is our position and will stay as our position all along the way. We will not change it. We will not compromise it. Let me tell you frankly that whoever raises a question mark about this unity of position weakens our position rather than strengthening it.” In another development, the children and family of Yaron Ungar, an American killed with his wife, Efrat, in a drive-by shooting by Palestinian terrorists nearly four years ago filed suit in federal court in Rhode Island against the Palestinian Authority, the PLO and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The lead plaintiffs in the suit are the Ungar’s two sons, Dvir, 5, and Yishai, who were not in the car when gunmen drove up and opened fire on June 9, 1996. An attorney for the family, Nitsana Leitner, said in a phone interview that the $250 million suit was being brought under a never-before-used law that permits suits against terrorist organizations that attack Americans anywhere in the world. She said the gunmen have been arrested and four are now in an Israeli prison and a fifth is free somewhere in territory held by the Palestinian Authority.