Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

U.S officials are trying to extinguish a mini-political fire in Israel after President Trump's speech last night at a political rally in West Virginia during which he said Israel "will have to pay a higher price" in future negotiations with the Palestinians because of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The big picture: While Trump hasn’t spoken publicly for several months about the White House's efforts to draft and launch an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, his statements yesterday — although not choreographed — showed the issue is still on his agenda.

"And you know what? In the negotiation, Israel will have to pay a higher price because they want a very big thing, but I took it off the table. ... There's nothing to negotiate but [the Palestinians will] get something very good because it's their turn next. Let's see what happens. It's very interesting. I've always heard that's the toughest deal of all deals — it's called peace between Israel and the Palestinians."
— Trump at the rally

The fallout: Trump's statements got extensive media coverage in Israel and amongst Palestinians. Israeli politicians started issuing statements, quoting Trump as saying Israel "will have to pay a heavy price." On the other hand, Palestinian officials started issuing statements attacking Trump for stating again he has taken Jerusalem off the negotiating table.

  • Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, who is visiting Israel this week, saw Trump's statements at his hotel room in Jerusalem several hours before a planned press conference. When asked about Trump's statements at the press conference, he tried to play them down by saying that Trump is a dealmaker who hoped the Palestinians would ask to get something from the U.S. after the Jerusalem announcement — instead of disengaging.

What we're hearing: Senior U.S. officials told me it was important to listen carefully to Trump's words because, unlike what some Israeli politicians said, the president didn't say Israel would have to pay a "high price" — a phrase they said has a very negative implication in the Middle East — but instead "a higher price."

  • They added: "The president's words that Israel would pay 'a higher price' simply reflects a desire that our good faith initiatives would be reciprocated. And, just to be absolutely clear, the U.S. will not impose terms upon Israel that are unacceptable."
  • Israeli officials told me they got clarifications from senior U.S. officials who explained what Trump meant, saying: "National security adviser John Bolton clarified things in his press conference. We are very satisfied by Bolton's excellent visit which further strengthens the U.S.-Israeli relationship."

Go deeper

Boycott organizers slam Facebook following tense virtual meeting

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Civil rights leaders blasted Facebook's top executives shortly after speaking with them on Tuesday, saying that the tech giant's leaders "failed to meet the moment" and were "more interested in having a dialogue than producing outcomes."

Why it matters: The likely fallout from the meeting is that the growing boycott of Facebook's advertising platform, which has reached nearly 1000 companies in less than a month, will extend longer than previously anticipated, deepening Facebook's public relations nightmare.

Steve Scalise PAC invites donors to fundraiser at Disney World

Photo: Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s PAC is inviting lobbyists to attend a four-day “Summer Meeting” at Disney World's Polynesian Village in Florida, all but daring donors to swallow their concern about coronavirus and contribute $10,000 to his leadership PAC.

Why it matters: Scalise appears to be the first House lawmakers to host an in-person destination fundraiser since the severity of pandemic became clear. The invite for the “Summer Meeting” for the Scalise Leadership Fund, obtained by Axios, makes no mention of COVID-19.

The coronavirus is ushering in a new era of surveillance at work

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As companies continue to prepare for the return of their employees to the workplace, they're weighing new types of surveillance in the name of safety.

Why it matters: Just as the coronavirus pandemic has acted as an accelerant for the adoption of remote work, it has also normalized increased surveillance and data collection. In the post-pandemic workplace, our bosses will know a lot more about us than they used to.