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Gantz visits the West Bank. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Benny Gantz, the leader of Israel's Blue and White Party, told President Trump in their Oval Office meeting today that he supports Trump's Middle East peace plan but wants to move ahead with it only after Israel's elections on March 2nd.

Why it matters: Gantz is the primary electoral rival for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political survival and wants a green light from Trump to annex parts of the West Bank immediately after the plan is presented. Gantz indicated major steps should wait until Israel has a new, stable government.

Gantz's meeting with Trump was widely seen as an achievement, given he holds no official position. He had considered skipping the trip to Washington out of fear he'd be sidelined by Trump and overshadowed by Netanyahu.

  • Facing corruption indictments at home, Netanyahu is leaning on his connection with Trump as a reason to re-elect him.
  • The peace plan will play a central role in the coming elections, Israel's third in the span of a year.

What he's saying: Gantz called the plan “a significant and historic milestone."

“Immediately after the elections, I will work toward implementing it from within a stable functioning Israeli government, in tandem with the other countries in our region."
— Gantz

He also said he and Trump discussed “the importance of dialogue with the Palestinians, the neighboring countries and the King of Jordan."

  • The Palestinians have boycotted talks over the peace plan and are expected to emphatically reject it. Trump said earlier today that there could be "no deal without the Palestinians."

The bottom line: Gantz’s remarks show he views Trump's plan as a chance to restart the peace process, but in such a way as to get the Palestinians back to the table and involve the Arab states.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.