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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.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

GOP pivot: Big business to small dollars

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republican leaders turned to grassroots supporters and raked in sizable donations after corporations cut them off post-Jan. 6.

Why it matters: If those companies hoped to push the GOP toward the center, they may have done just the opposite by turning Republican lawmakers toward their most committed — and ideologically driven — supporters.