The family of Daniel Wultz, 16, a Florida resident who was killed in a Palestinian suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv won a $323 million judgment in a U.S. court against Iran and Syria.
In court papers, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, representing the Syrian government, called the lawsuit “baseless” and said the suit violated the United Nations charter.
Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington DC ruled Monday that Iran and Syria were responsible for the attack by an Islamic Jihad terrorist that killed Daniel and ten other people in a bombing at a Tel Aviv restaurant in April 2006.
“When a state chooses to use terror as a policy tool — as Iran and Syria continue to do — that state forfeits its sovereign immunity and deserves unadorned condemnation,” Judge Lamberth wrote in his order on Monday, adding that such barbaric acts “have no place in civilized society.”
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the family by the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center. It is the first time that the group has won a judgment against Syria, its director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said.
The Islamic Jihad, which is based in Damascus, took responsibility for the attack.
Daniel’s father, Yekutiel Wultz, was seriously injured in the attack. “We don’t look for any revenge,” he told the Miami Herald on Tuesday. “Our purpose in our fight is to fight terrorism. We don’t want any more Daniels to die.”
Daniel Wultz died 27 days after the attack, and the judgment was announced six years to the day after he died.
The lawsuit was brought under a special provision in U.S. federal law that allows U.S. citizens to bring claims against foreign governments for terrorist acts. It is very difficult to collect on the judgment, however. Iran and Syria, whose assets have been frozen in the United States due to their state sponsorship of terror, have been subject to other large judgments in U.S. courts in recent years.
Attorney Darshan-Leitner told Israel Channel 2 TV that she is experienced in locating and impounding properties belonging to rogue regimes. “The Syrian government owns aircraft, ships and corporations around the globe, which can be impounded to force Syria to comply with the court’s ruling,” she said.
The Wultz family established a nonprofit foundation, the Daniel Cantor Wultz Foundation, to combat terror and promote tolerance and acceptance.