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Ron Dermer. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer has been lobbying Trump administration officials, members of Congress, conservative pundits and other D.C. influencers in recent weeks to convince them that Israel must move forward on annexations of parts of the West Bank before November's election, fearing that Joe Biden will defeat President Trump, according to three U.S. and Israeli sources.

Why it matters: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Dermer, his closest confidante, are concerned that a Biden victory would dramatically shift U.S. policy on Israel and Palestine and that Israel must create facts on the ground before the U.S. elections.

What they're saying: Dermer’s message in meetings and off-the-record briefings he's providing to think tank experts, pundits and reporters is that "Israel has to move on annexation now because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the elections and Biden might win," according to three sources. "We have a window of opportunity now and we need to use it."

Between the lines: Israeli and American sources told me Dermer is intensifying his lobbying efforts and wants to move as fast as possible because he is aware of the reservations some officials in the Trump administration are now having over giving Israel the green light for annexation.

These second thoughts were the result of several developments:

  • Deep concerns about Israeli annexation relayed to the White House and the State Department by Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • Reservations and concerns regarding annexation raised by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in their talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem last week.
  • Concerns by some Trump administration officials that Israeli annexation now would harm the White House's Middle East peace plan.
  • The coronavirus crisis, which still consumes most of President Trump’s time.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington declined to comment on this story.

Go deeper: Jordanian king warns of "massive conflict" if Israel annexes parts of West Bank

Go deeper

Aug 25, 2020 - World

Kushner to take first Israel-UAE flight, launch normalization talks

Kushner (center) at the announcement of the normalization deal. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Jared Kushner will travel next Monday on the first direct commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi following a U.S.-brokered normalization agreement, the White House and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced.

Why it matters: Kushner’s trip will facilitate the beginning of direct talks on various aspects of the Israel-UAE normalization process amid tensions over a pending sale of F-35 jets from the U.S. to the UAE.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.