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Thursday, Nov. 01 ’12, Cheshvan 16, 5773
1. NEW YORK’S VENERABLE BELLEVUE HOSPITAL EVACUATES POST-SANDY 2. ARAB SUPPLIED HAMAS TERRORISTS WITH MONEY, SCRAP METAL 3. PM ADVISORS: KACHLON ‘ACTING LIKE A FIFTH COLUMN’ IN THE LIKUD 4. TUNISIA EXTENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY DUE TO ISLAMIST ATTACKS 5. REPORT: U.S., ISRAEL CAN’T COUNT ON ARAB SUPPORT FOR IRAN STRIKE 6. ‘A DEFEAT FOR PEACE NOW’
7. FORMER JEWISH OWNERS DEMAND RETURN OF MONET MASTERPIECE 8. ASSAD’S FATE IS SEALED, SAYS BARAK
1. NEW YORK’S VENERABLE BELLEVUE HOSPITAL EVACUATES POST-SANDY
by Chana Ya’ar
Another New York hospital has been forced to evacuate its patients due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.
The city’s venerable Bellevue Hospital announced Wednesday it had begun a “full evacuation to safely transfer all patients to appropriate healthcare facilities.” Some 500 patients are involved in the transfer, with at least 100 others who didn’t require critical care having been discharged home.
The hospital, located at the southern end of Manhattan on First Avenue and 27th Street, contacted families to let them know about their loved ones. Families who could not be reached were notified through media to call the 311 hotline with inquiries about patients. “Hundreds of staff are on duty to help with the transfer,” the hospital said in a statement posted on the NYC Health and Hospital Corporation’s (HHC) website. “Hospital and Emergency Room will remain closed until further notice.”
Associated with New York University’s School of Medicine, Bellevue’s emergency room was a central spot for treatment during and after the “9/11” Al Qaeda attack on the city’s World Trade Center in 2001, and is certified as a Level 1 Trauma Center. It is also the hospital which carried out the forensic psychiatric evaluation of Levi Aron, convicted of murdering 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn last summer.
By Wednesday, medical staff had spent two days in dim lights hiking as far as the 17th floor. Journalists were told at a news conference Wednesday night that patients were being carried down the stairs from the highest floor, the 18th, by New York Army National Guard officers who had also helped to bring fuel for the hospital’s generator up to the roof, NYC HHC President Alan Aviles said.
Despite losing power when Hurricane Sandy hit on Monday, the hospital had managed to stay open using its emergency generator on the roof, refueled by the soldiers carrying five-gallon fuel jugs up 13 floors to keep the 1,000-gallon tank filled. But the decision to evacuate was finally made and soldiers were called out to help move the hospital’s patients after millions of gallons of water were discovered in the basement, Aviles added.
Bellevue was not the only hospital whose generators failed due to overload and flooding. NYU Medical Center evacuated more than 300 patients at the start of Hurricane Sandy on Monday. Dozens were in critical condition. The hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit evacuated 20 tiny infants on battery-operated respirators at the height of the hurricane. Medical staff were seen carrying the babies carefully down the stairs, and rushing them into ambulances waiting in pounding rain.
On Tuesday, Brooklyn’s Coney Island Hospital, located near the historic Coney Island neighborhood in a low-lying area less than a mile from the water’s edge, soon followed. Hundreds of patients were relocated to area hospitals as the hospital’s hurricane-swamped generator failed, and corridors flooded.
2. ARAB SUPPLIED HAMAS TERRORISTS WITH MONEY, SCRAP METAL
by David Lev
The Shabak announced Thursday that it, together the southern division of the Israel Police, several months ago arrested an Arab scrap metal dealer who raised millions of dollars for Hamas terrorists, and donated or sold for a very low price large amounts of metal to the terror group. The metal was used to build smuggling tunnels under the Gaza border into Sinai, and to build bunkers and military outposts from where attacks on Israel were conducted.
The arrest helped clear up one of the biggest mysteries in Israeli defense efforts against attacks from Gaza in recent years: With Israel upholding a blockade of sea traffic into Gaza, the IDF constantly destroying smuggling tunnels under the Sinai-Gaza border, and Israeli officials at crossings into Gaza ensuring that material that could be used for attacks on Israel did not enter Gaza, just where was all the metal used by Gaza Arab terrorists to defend themselves from Israeli attacks and to build military positions coming from?
The junk metal dealer, 41 year old Maher Attia Abu Gaba, is a resident of Gaza, but holds an entry permit to Israel, allowing him to come and go at will. He was arrested on September 6, Shabak officials said, carrying NIS 114,000 in a bag, which was meant to be given to an Arab terror cell.
Gaba admitted to having a long history smuggling money and material to terrorists. He told investigators that he was quite aware of whom he was dealing with when he brokered deals for scrap metal, where the money was going, and what it – and the metal he donated or sold – would be used for.
On October 4, Israeli officials confiscated 3,000 tons of scrap metal that was to be shipped to Gaza, imported by Gaba. That shipment was to be appended to a smaller shipment of 42 tons of scrap metal that was already in Israel, also belonging to the suspect.
In a statement, the Shabak said that the incident makes clear why Israel has placed severe limits on the items that can be imported into Gaza. In this case, the Shabak said, scrap metal that was ostensibly to be used for civilian purposes was used for military and terror purposes, to make it easier to attack Israel. “It’s clear that Hamas is capable of bringing money and material into Gaza,” the statement said. “There is no shortage of anything in Gaza.”
3. PM ADVISORS: KACHLON ‘ACTING LIKE A FIFTH COLUMN’ IN THE LIKUD
by David Lev
The media has been full of reports about polls showing Labor or a new party that features outgoing Communications Minister Moshe Kachlon receiving between 20 and 35 Knesset seats in the upcoming elections. Much of that, say officials close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is media hype, prompted by the decision by Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to run a joint list in the January Knesset elections. But those officials add that there is definitely something to the rumors – and that Kachlon, for his own reasons, would be willing to throw a monkey wrench into the Netanyahu’s campaign to remain Prime Minister.
“He is cheating the public with his attitude,” the officials said. “He is in charge of running the Likud Central Committee meetings, but he is working as a fifth column in the Likud and running his own campaign for the Knesset.”
Speaking to reporters, Kachlon said that he had no regrets over his recent decision to quit the government, and politics altogether. However, he did not deny reports that he was considering setting up his own party, and was “checking out the situation” to see if running on his own was a good idea. Sources close to Kachlon said that he could consider running on his own if polls consistently showed a party he led getting between 10 and 12 Knesset seats.
Kachlon is personally very popular because of his efforts to lower the cost of basic services, such as cellphone service and cable and satellite TV. He was also behind a number of reforms in consumer laws, such as making it easier for Israelis to receive a cash refund when returning an item they are not happy with, instead of having to make do with a store credit. He is being encouraged to run by social activists who believe he could lead the way on further legislation to make life more affordable for Israelis.
Kachlon announced several weeks ago that he was leaving politics for the time being, but he swore fealty to Netanyahu, saying that the current government was “the most socially conscious in the past decade,” and that “the Likud’s way is the true way,” adding that even though he was not running, he would help the Likud in its Knesset campaign.
4. TUNISIA EXTENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY DUE TO ISLAMIST ATTACKS
by Chana Ya’ar
A new wave of radical Islamist attacks has prompted Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki to extend the country’s state of emergency through January.
“Marzouki decided Wednesday to extend the state of emergency by three months from November 2012,” announced the official TAP news agency. According to the statement, the extension was recommended by military and security officials, the AFP news agency reported. The ruling moderate Islamic Ennahda party issued its own statement Wednesday as well, appealing for calm and saying, “The state has a a right to deal with all threats to social peace.”
The move came following a riot by an Islamist mob armed with knives in the streets of the capital, Tunis, on Wednesday. The riots were the latest in a series of attacks perpetrated by Muslim extremists over the past several weeks.
One day earlier, Islamists raided two National Guard posts in the Tunis suburb of Manouba and clashed with security forces. One of the attackers was killed, according to the Interior Ministry, in a clash that followed the arrest by police of a Salafi Muslim suspected of attacking a local security chief.
The country has continued to struggle over its identity following the overthrow of its former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Ben in January 2011 in what became known as the Jasmine Revolution, the uprising that launched the region-wide Arab Spring uprisings.
On September 14, thousands of raging Muslims attacked the U.S. embassy in Tunis, ripping down the American flag, torching the building, the American school next door and two school buses parked in the complex. Four of the rioters were killed in the chaos that followed. The embarrassed Tunisian government, which has been walking a tightrope between secularists, moderates and fundamentalists, vowed to crack down on Islamist extremism.
Last week, a Tunisian court sentenced a senior member of the Islamic Ansar al-Shari’a terror group to one year in prison after he was found of guilty of inciting and encouraging the attack. The man”s attorney has announced that he plans to appeal the decision.
5. REPORT: U.S., ISRAEL CAN’T COUNT ON ARAB SUPPORT FOR IRAN STRIKE
by David Lev
A report in the Guardian Thursday said that senior American military officials have warned Israel that if Jerusalem carries out an attack on Iran, it should not expect any help from Arab countries in the Middle East. According to the report, the U.S. was recently told by several of its allies in the Middle East that they would refuse to get involved in the conflict, not even providing passive assistance, and even if the U.S. was involved – because of fear of the “Arab street” that would probably look unkindly on such assistance, and concern that if the strike was unsuccessful, or only partially succesful, Iran would seek vengeance against them.
The thinking in Israel had been, according to many experts, that conservative Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States were themselves afraid of Iran’s influence in the Middle East, and would welcome an Israeli attack on Tehran’s nuclear facilities, to eliminate the threat of a “Shi’ite bomb” that Iran could use to blackmail them into surrendering them into Tehran’s sphere of influence.
Several Israeli scenarios included the possibility of a direct flyover and even secret refueling in Arab countries, at U.S. bases. However, the new information puts those plans into jeopardy, as the governments in question would probably not even allow a flyover, much less a refueling, of planes on a bombing mission to Iran.
Quoting a serious U.S. military official, the report laid out the dilemma faced by Arab countries – and by extension, the U.S. and Israel. “The Gulf states’ one great fear is Iran going nuclear. The other is a regional war that would destabilize them,” the official said. “They might support a massive war against Iran, but they know they are not going to get that, and they know a limited strike is not worth it, as it will not destroy the program and only make Iran angrier.”
6. ‘A DEFEAT FOR PEACE NOW’
by Gil Ronen
Nationalist land dealer Moshe Zar hailed the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) reply to a High Court motion, in which the SAO said that radical leftist group Peace Now does not represent real-life Arabs when it files motions against Jewish outposts in Judea and Samaria.
The SAO’s position comes as a surprise, as the office is generally considered a bastion of radical leftism.
Zar told Arutz Sheva that in its reply, the state used the central argument that the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria have usually used, namely – that the Peace Now motions are frivolous and that they do not represent any Arabs.
“The State’s response to the High Court was that this is a public body that has no relevance to outposts and that they therefore do not have the right to file these motions,” he said. “This is a good answer, and if the High Court accepts the argument, it will in effect be taking away Peace Now’s right to file motions against outposts in the future.
“They always claim that there are virtual Palestinians who own the land but they do not bring any Palestinian. You cannot bring a nonexistent petitioner. There is no real plaintiff who comes to the court, signs an affidavit and gives witness, so why accept such a motion?”
7. FORMER JEWISH OWNERS DEMAND RETURN OF MONET MASTERPIECE
by Rachel Hirshfeld
The grandson of a wealthy Jewish businessman is demanding that a Swiss foundation return a Monet masterpiece that the family was forced to sell for a fraction of its value when they were forced to flee Europe during World War II, a Swiss newspaper reported Wednesday.
Juan Carlos Emden, the Chilean grandson of Max Emden who bought Claude Monet’s “Poppy Field near Vetheuil” in the 1920s, is seeking to recover the painting from the Swiss Buehlre collection, the Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ) reported, according to AFP.
Max Emden was forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1933 for Ticino in Switzerland, where he built the Villa Emden to house his large art collection, including “Poppy Field near Vetheuil”, one of Monet’s most famous paintings.
After his death in 1940, his only son Hans Erich Emden was forced to sell his father’s art collection in haste to finance his trip fleeing Europe for South America.
He sold the Monet for just 30,000 Swiss francs, $32,220, to a Jewish German merchant, who in turn sold it to Swiss citizen Emil Buehrle for 35,000 francs, about $37,590.
The impressionist painting illustrates children gathering poppies in a field, with the tall structure of the Notre Dame de Vetheuil in the background.
According to NZZ, the painting is today valued at around 25 million francs, approximately $27 million.
Juan Carlos Emden, who has reportedly been fighting for years to regain ownership of his grandfather’s painting, is planning to travel to Zurich to discuss with his lawyers how to recover the masterpiece, the paper said, according to AFP.
The Buehrle foundation, which houses a renowned collection that also includes other works by Monet, as well works by Manet, Renoir and Van Gogh among others, could not be immediately reached for comment.
“Poppy Field near Vetheuil” was stolen during a heist at the Buehrle museum in Zurich in 2008 with three other works of art, but was found several days later in the boot of a car in a Zurich parking lot.
More recently, thieves made off with paintings by Monet, Picasso, Matisse, and other prominent modern artists from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum on October 16 in a brazen and meticulously planned operation. The seven stolen works, which also include a Gauguin, a Lucian Freud and a Meyer de Haan, are thought to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
8. ASSAD’S FATE IS SEALED, SAYS BARAK
by Elad Benari
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad”s fate has been sealed, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday.
“The Assad regime is on a slippery slope, his fate has been sealed and he will fall soon,” Barak said in London, where he met with senior officials in the British government.
“There is an Iranian fear that Assad will fall and the only ones who support Assad today are Iran and Hizbullah,” he added. “The Iranians understand that the fall of Assad would deal a severe blow to the Tehran-Damascus-Hizbullah axis. Post-Assad Syria may deteriorate into chaos and separation into individual provinces. Israel is monitoring the option that Syrian weapons could fall into the hands of Hizbullah.”
Regarding Iran, Barak said, “A nuclear Iran threatens the entire world order and regional order in particular. We are determined to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. The need to deal with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons has risks, complexities and meanings, not all of which are predictable.”
However, Barak said, “Dealing with an Iran whose ayatollahs are equipped with nuclear weapons would be infinitely more complicated, more dangerous and more expensive than dealing with it prior to its becoming nuclear.”
He also spoke about the peace process with the Palestinian Authority and said, “Israel and the Palestinians must work to resume negotiations without preconditions and discuss all the core issues. It is in the interest of both parties and we must hurry to do so.”
Barak will return to Israel on Thursday. On Tuesday he revealed in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that Israel almost attacked Iran eight months ago – but that the “moment of truth” was postponed after Iran redirected part of its enriched uranium to civilian uses.
Without that decision, a confrontation with Iran would have almost certainly developed, said Barak.
When asked about future Israeli plans to attack Iran, Barak said simply that “Israel reserves the right to defend itself, by itself. An action against Iran will be much safer than an attack against an Iran that achieves nuclear capability.”
Sanctions and diplomatic pressure have not worked, said Barak, and he warned that as a result, Israel and its allies will have to deal with the decision on whether or not to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities “in the coming year.”
As Barak was visiting London, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited France, where he met with President Francois Hollande.
During the meeting Hollande said he wanted to see Iran perform “concrete acts” to prove it was not pursuing a nuclear arms drive.
At a press conference with Netanyahu, whose aim during a two-day visit to France is to seek more pressure on Iran, Hollande warned that Paris would back “other sanctions” if Tehran failed to convince on its contested nuclear program.
“This is a threat which cannot be accepted by France,” Hollande said.
“We have voted for many sanctions and are ready to vote others as long as necessary,” he said, demanding “proof that Iran has abandoned this drive”.
Netanyahu hailed the “extremely important position” taken by Hollande.
In an interview with a French magazine on Tuesday, Netanyahu said a military strike on Iran would benefit the Arab world.
“Five minutes after [the strike], contrary to what skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region,” he said, adding, “Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel.”