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Mahmoud Abbas at the UN Security Council. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

After blocking a Palestinian draft resolution at the UN Security Council rejecting its Middle East peace plan, the White House is signaling that it's willing to make changes to the plan if the Palestinians return to the table.

The backstory: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the plan in remarks today at the Security Council. That was to be followed by a vote on a resolution condemning the plan, but the Trump administration managed to delay the vote.

Senior U.S. officials tell me their goal was to show the Palestinians that they won't get anywhere through the UN and would be better off negotiating with Washington.

  • “Today, by not putting forward a polarizing resolution, the United Nations Security Council demonstrated that the old way of doing things is over," one senior official says.
  • "For the first time on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the Council was willing to think outside the conventional box and not reflexively fall back on the calcified Palestinian position, which has only allowed the failed status quo to continue."

In his speech, Abbas said the Trump plan was a deal between the U.S. and Israel intended to “finish off the Palestinian cause."

  • Abbas didn’t attack President Trump directly. Instead, he aimed his criticism at the president’s advisers.
  • Abbas said he was willing to negotiate with Israel immediately but not on the basis of the Trump plan and not with the U.S. as the sole mediator.
  • He called for an international peace conference and for talks to resume on the basis of UN resolutions under the auspices of the Quartet — U.S, Russia, EU and UN.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, who spoke after Abbas, didn’t attack him but gave an emphatic speech stressing that the Trump administration wants to use its plan as the basis for talks with the Palestinian leadership:

“This plan is not a take it or leave it. It is not a 'my way or the highway.' It is not set in stone. Rather, it is an opening offer. It is the beginning of a conversation, not the end of one."

Where things stand: "We are ready to start negotiations," Abbas told the council, but not on Trump's terms.

  • The Quartet played a role in previous negotiations, but dialogue had been stalled for years before the Trump administration released its own plan.

Go deeper

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.