Thursday, July 25, 1996

In Latakiyya, PA's Arafat makes his 1st official visit to Syria since 1993, meets with Pres. Asad. (MM 7/25; VOA, VOP 7/25 in FBIS 7/25; al-Hayat, SARR, SATN 7/25, SARR 7/26 in FBIS 7/26; CSM, MM 7/26; al-Hayat, PBC, VOP 7/26, VOP 7/27 in FBIS 7/29; MEI 8/2)

Israeli police escort 100s of Temple Mount Faithful in pair to al-Aqsa courtyard for prayers; arrest 12 mbrs. of Hay Veqayam who try to enter the site. (QY 7/25, JP 7/26 in FBIS 7/26; MEI 8/2) (see 7/24)

In testimony before the House International Relations Comm., Philip Wilcox, State Dept. coordinator for counterterrorism, says the U.S. believes Syria provides save haven and logistical support to Arab and non-Arab "terrorist" groups (incl., Hamas, Hizballah, Islamic Jihad) but has no evidence of direct Syrian involvement in "terrorist" acts since 1986. Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) called this session of the comm. despite the objections of the State Dept. that it would alienate Pres. Asad, further hinder resumption of Syrian-Israeli talks. (WT 7/26; WJW 8/1)