USA Troops Arrive in Israel

“Evil people will bow down in the presence of the good, and the wicked at the gates of righteousness.” Prov 14:19

USA TROOPS ARRIVE IN ISRAEL: With tensions high on Israel’s northern and southern fronts, USA troops are in Israel and have deployed anti-missile defense systems across the country ahead of the Juniper Cobra military exercise. The large-scale, five-day drill will simulate a massive missile attack on Israel from both fronts and will be led by the Israel Air Force, the IDF confirmed on 4 Feb. 2018. The joint exercise with the USA Army is aimed at strengthening military cooperation against regional threats and promoting long-term security for Israel. While the IDF said the drill, which has occurred every two years since 2001, is part of the training to maintain the readiness of troops, it comes amid a war of words with Hezbollah, which is thought to have an arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles. Washington and Israel have signed an agreement which would see the USA come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war. (J.Post)

USA SANCTIONS SIX PEOPLE, SEVEN FIRMS UNDER RULES TARGETING TERROR GROUP HEZBOLLAH: The Trump administration attacked Hezbollah’s financial network on 2 Feb. 2018 by imposing sanctions on six people and seven entities in an effort to turn back Iran’s influence in the Middle East and beyond. “The administration is determined disrupt Hezbollah’s networks, including those across the Middle East and West Africa, used to fund their illicit operations,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in announcing the penalties targeting the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group. The six sanctioned individuals included five Lebanese and one Iraqi. The seven entities were firms based in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Lebanon and Ghana. Senior Trump administration officials said the sanctions were part of an aggressive move against Hezbollah to try to limit the influence of Iran, which gives the group about $700 million a year to help finance its activities. More such targeted sanctions are expected in the months ahead, said officials. The officials said Hezbollah was already under financial strain as it continued to pay for costly operations in Syria and Yemen. The goal was to get European allies to join the United States in increasing pressure on the group, they said. As a result of the Treasury designations, all their assets subject to USA jurisdiction are blocked and Americans are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. (Algemeiner)

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PA AUTHORITY PREPARING TO ‘DISENGAGE’ FROM ISRAEL: The Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) top leadership on 3 Feb. 2018 ordered preparations for disengagement from Israel. Withdrawing the PLO's 1988 recognition would threaten decades of Israeli relations with the Palestinian leadership and raise doubts over ongoing security coordination between the two. It would also be seen as a fatal blow to the two-state solution, already on life support following the White House's December recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The PLO's Executive Committee released a statement after a three-hour weekend meeting saying it would set up a committee to study the de-recognition move.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, ordered the preparation of "plans and projects for disengagement steps with the Israeli government at the political, administrative, economic and security levels." Western countries have been lobbying senior Palestinian officials to convince them not to take such a step, multiple diplomats said. The USA considered the PLO to be a terrorist organization until 1991. In 1993, as part of the Oslo Accords, the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist in peace, accepted UN Security Council resolutions, and "rejected" "violence and terrorism." However, the PLO has not kept its promise, consistently involving itself in violence and terrorism and paying terrorists stipends in proportion to their success in murdering Jews. Abbas recently declared the Oslo Accords "dead." (Arutz-7) Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back. Let them be as the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up. Ps.129:5-6

USA CLASSIFIES HAMAS CHIEF HANIYEH AS SPECIALLY DESIGNATED GLOBAL TERRORIST: The United States government has become the first country outside of Israel to categorize Hamas Politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, Ambassador Nathan Sales, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told media sources. “Ismail Haniyeh has been involved in Hamas’ campaign of terrorism against Israel for years and even decades. The United States is not fooled by any attempt by Hamas to re-brand itself. We know it for what it is, a terror organization committed to the destruction of the State of Israel.” According to Sales, the consequences of the labeling of a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under executive order 13224, which aims to impede terrorist-funding, is “significant.” “All assets belonging to Haniyeh under USA jurisdiction will be frozen,” said Sales. “This designation allows us to dry up the sources of funding and kick them out of the international financial system. We don’t want to only stop the bomber, but the person who buys the bombs.” Israeli officials have accused Iran of growing involvement in funding terrorist groups such as Hamas to carry out attacks against the Jewish state. (J.Post) This is an answer to many prayers. For the sake of the suffering people who they rule, and for the safety of Israel please intercede that highly effective strategies will continue to be put into place that will be the downfall of terrorist groups and their brutal leaders. “For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the Lord; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water.” Isa 32:6

USA DIPLOMAT: BLACKLISTING HAMAS HEAD INTENDED TO PREVENT THE NEXT WAR: The USA decision to put the head of the Hamas terrorist organization, Ismail Haniyeh, on its terror blacklist is an essential step towards "drying up" Hamas, said USA Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales. "It is a crime under USA law for people to engage in transactions with these designated terrorists," he said. Iran, Hamas' biggest financial supporter, will thus be declared in violation of USA Law. "The United States is under no illusions about Iran's malign intentions in the region, nor are we under any illusions about its ability to project its power and to shed blood around the world. Iran can be stopped. Iran is not invincible." Sales emphasized the importance of restricting "the ability of terrorist organizations to raise money and to inspire new recruits. We want to stop war from happening by degrading terrorist organizations and preventing them from accumulating the weapons, manpower and confidence that they would need to launch a new war." (Ynet)

NETANYAHU SAYS ISRAEL WILL RETAIN CONTROL OVER JUDEA & SAMARIA IN ANY PEACE DEAL: Israeli PM Netanyahu last week again asserted that in any peace deal Israel must retain security control of Judea & Samaria . Netanyahu’s statement, which was rejected out-of-hand by the Palestinian leadership, underscores the fallacy of repeating the mantra of a “two-state solution” without being specific about the details. At the moment, new lines appear to be on the table: a strong alliance between the United States and Israel on one side and the Palestinians allied with the European Union on the other. Further complicating matters is the ban on Israeli participation in the peace process that was declared by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and most recently, the meetings between Palestinian Authority PM Dr. Rami Hamdallah and American peace envoy Jason Greenblatt despite Abbas’ decree. During the media conference, Netanyahu clarified a point, saying Israel will control security west of the Jordan river – apparently including all of Judea & Samaria. Reaction from Palestinian officials was swift and unequivocal. Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina shot back with what some are viewing as a threat when he said, “Either there will be full Palestinian sovereignty or there will be no security, no peace and no stability.” (Medialine)

AMERICAN DIPLOMATS VIOLENTLY CHASED OUT OF BETHLEHEM: Palestinian outrage over USA President Donald Trump's support for Israel's claims to the city of Jerusalem has finally turned to violence against Americans. The USA Consulate in Jerusalem last week attempted to host a digital marketing workshop in Bethlehem. But, before the event could begin, a mob of Palestinian men busted in screaming and holding signs reading "America = ISIS = Terror." The Americans were physically shoved out of the building and told "you are not welcome." The Palestinians were then seen hurling tomatoes at and kicking the cars of the diplomats as they attempted to flee back to Jerusalem. The USA State Department issued a statement shortly after: "Though no one was hurt, the objective was clearly intimidation. The United States absolutely opposes the use of violence and intimidation to express political views." (Israel Today)

FIRST TEMPLE-ERA RELICS OF POSSIBLE ROYAL ESTATE FOUND IN JERUSALEM HILLS: Israeli authorities inaugurated a nature park last week near Jerusalem after five years of archaeological excavations at Ein Hanya, the second-largest spring in the Judean Hills and a key site in the history of Christianity. Along with an announcement that the park will open to the public free of charge within months, the Israel Antiquities Authority revealed some major findings at the site, including a column capital typical of royal structures from the First Temple era and one of the oldest coins ever discovered in the Jerusalem area. Israel Antiquity Authority said the most significant finding was a large Byzantine-era system of pools found at the site. (Times of Israel) “Scripture says of Israel that God’s people take pleasure in her very stones and favor even the dust (Ps 102:14). Such words are confirmed as archaeological excavations continue to unearth layers of history beneath the earth and stones of the Jewish nation. Ongoing discoveries tell us of life in the ancient past and in many cases bear out the truth of Biblical accounts in a way that no other county could.

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The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff