Netanyahu points at a map of the Jordan Valley, Sept, 10, 2019. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented four annexation scenarios in a meeting tonight with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi — from annexing 30% of the West Bank to a more symbolic annexation of a small amount of land, an Israeli official briefed on the meeting tells me.

Why it matters: Netanyahu has vowed to move forward with annexation of at least some territory in the West Bank as soon as July 1. He's been hoping for a green light from the White House, which has said it will only agree if Israel's top leaders are unified behind the plan.

In the room: Netanyahu and the speaker of Israel's parliament, Yariv Levin, presented maps for all four scenarios but did not say which they preferred, according to the official.

  • Gantz and Ashkenazi told Netanyahu they are opposed to any annexation in areas that have Palestinian inhabitants.
  • They want annexation to take place in a broader diplomatic context in which the Palestinians get something in return, the official says.
  • The meeting ended with no decisions or meaningful progress, but more discussions are expected in the coming days.

The big picture: Any unilateral Israeli annexation would be widely considered a violation of international law and fiercely opposed by the Palestinians, countries in the region including Jordan, as well as the European Union.

What to watch: The pushback against the annexation plan from America's Arab allies is getting stronger.

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the de facto leader of the UAE, assured King Abdullah of Jordan today that the UAE would categorically reject "Israel's illegal annexation of Palestinian lands" and rally international opposition.
  • That unusually strong statement shows how adamant the UAE is in supporting Jordan's campaign against Israeli annexation.
  • King Abdullah has stressed Jordan's rejection of the plan in conference calls over the last two days with top leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate and the foreign affairs committees in both chambers.

Go deeper: Trump administration coordinated ICC sanctions with Israel

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Sep 24, 2020 - World

Israeli PM announces strict lockdown plan after record coronavirus cases spike

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an August news conference in Jerusalem. Photo: Debbie Hill/AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans for a "full lockdown" after Israel reported a new daily coronavirus cases record of 6,923 infections Wednesday.

Why it matters: Israel last Friday became the first developed country to re-enter lockdown. While schools, retailers and other businesses closed for the three-week measure, there are exemptions including for people to pray, go to work, exercise and protest. The new two-week restrictions that still needs Cabinet's full approval aims to address this, AP notes. "The goal is to reduce the rate of infection, and the goal is literally to save many lives in Israel," Netanyahu said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.