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Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

  • The Biden administration will oppose annexation, settlement building and the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel, and incitement and payments to terrorists by the Palestinians.

One of the key players in drafting those policies, Hady Amr, will also have a key role in implementing them as the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for Israel-Palestine. Amr is highly respected by Palestinian officials, who see him as a balanced actor.

  • Amr’s job at the State Department is his fifth executive branch post. He previously served at the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Under Obama, Amr served as deputy special envoy for economics and Gaza, working with the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk.
  • One of Amr's teammates from that period was Julie Sawyer, the new director for Israel-Palestine on Biden's National Security Council.

What to watch: The Biden administration is not planning to appoint a special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

  • The issue will be handled mostly by the State Department, which means Amr could have significant influence.
  • It remains to be seen who will be picked as assistant secretary for Near East affairs and ambassador to Israel.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Israel's chief epidemiologist creates diplomatic incident with UAE

Israeli travelers arrive in Dubai. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

A remark by Israel’s chief epidemiologist suggesting the opening of direct flights from Dubai to Tel Aviv had led to COVID-19 deaths in Israel resulted in diplomatic protests from the UAE, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Direct flights were one of the main fruits of the Israel-UAE peace treaty, and around 130,000 Israeli tourists have taken advantage by flying to Dubai since December.

1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The new digital extortion

Shoshana Gordon/Axios

If you run a hospital, a bank, a utility or a city, chances are you'll be hit with a ransomware attack. Given the choice between losing your precious data or paying up, chances are you'll pay.

Why it matters: Paying the hackers is the clear short-term answer for most organizations hit with these devastating attacks, but it's a long-term societal disaster, encouraging hackers to continue their lucrative extortion schemes.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC mask guidance sparks confusion, questions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CDC's surprise guidance last week freeing the fully vaccinated to go maskless sowed plenty of concerns across the country— even earning the "Saturday Night Live" treatment for all the questions it spurred.

Why it matters: With plenty of Americans still unvaccinated — and without any good way to confirm who has been vaccinated — some experts worry this could put many at increased risk.