Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

The platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coast. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration has renewed its push for opening direct talks between Israel and Lebanon on the demarcation of their maritime borders in order to find a solution for the dispute between both countries over natural gas explorations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Israeli and U.S. officials told me.

Why it matters: Israeli officials say the Trump administration hopes to launch Israeli-Lebanese diplomatic talks before November's election. There have been no such talks between the countries in 30 years, and renewing Israeli-Lebanese negotiations would be a big achievement for the White House.

The big picture: The last decade saw several significant natural gas discoveries off the coasts of the two countries.

  • The border dispute ultimately concerns revenues that could reach tens of billions of dollars — and it also halted natural gas exploration in the area that interested U.S. energy companies.

The backstory: In June 2019, Israel and Lebanon were close to launching negotiations.

  • U.S. mediator David Satterfield presented an agreement for launching direct Israeli-Lebanese negotiations with U.S. mediation under the auspices of the United Nations in a UN base on the border between Israel and Lebanon.
  • Both sides agreed — but, under pressure from Hezbollah, the Lebanese government backtracked.

What's happening: Israeli officials told me that, in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion, Lebanon's economic crisis and ongoing domestic criticism of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the U.S. decided to renew its efforts to launch the talks.

  • Israeli officials said Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs David Schenker visited Israel this week and discussed the issue with energy minister Yuval Steinitz and with foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
  • Schenker’s visit was part of American shuttle diplomacy between Beirut and Jerusalem, Israeli officials told me. Schenker was in Israel several weeks ago, then traveled to Beirut to meet government officials and returned to Israel this week for updates.
  • Schenker told reporters last week that he made progress during his talks in Beirut over the maritime border dispute.

The state of play: Israeli officials say that Schenker presented his Israeli interlocutors this week with an updated draft agreement for launching the negotiations.

  • Israeli officials say one of the last sticking points has to do with the mediation.
  • The Lebanese want both the U.S. and the UN to mediate — while Israel wants the U.S. as the only mediator, with the UN acting only as the host.

The bottom line: Officials said they feel there is more flexibility and readiness on the Lebanese side than before to enter talks with Israel.

  • A senior Israeli official told me: "There is progress. We see willingness on the Lebanese side to move and settle this dispute. We are ready to start talks immediately and we hope it can happen before the end of the year."
  • The Israeli foreign ministry and the State Department refused to comment.

Go deeper

The only Trump foreign policy Biden wants to keep

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Joe Biden disagrees with most of President Trump's foreign policy initiatives, but several of his advisers tell Axios that there is one he plans to keep: the Abraham Accords.

Why it matters: Continuing to push the Abraham Accords — the biblical branding the administration has given to the individual normalization agreements between Israel and Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — could help Biden build positive relationships with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders in the Persian Gulf.

Nov 3, 2019 - World

Report finds uptick in "anti-Israel" activity on college campuses

Students protest the visit of Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations who was invited to give a lecture at Columbia University, New York City, Feb. 13, 2017. Photo: Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

American students ran at least 28 campaigns during the 2018–19 academic year to protest the Israeli government and encourage boycotts of Israeli companies and institutions, according to a group that has been monitoring such activity on U.S. campuses since 2011.

The big picture: That's an uptick in "anti-Israel" activity on American college campuses from the levels recorded over the past two years. But it's down from a peak of 44 campaigns in the 2014–15 academic year, per the 2019 Campus Trends Report published by the Israel on Campus Coalition, a group that supports Israel.

Dec 9, 2020 - World

Biden and Netanyahu are on a collision course over Iran

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

The incoming Biden administration and the Israeli government are on a collision course over the future of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Why it matters: There is a growing gap between Biden’s stated intention to re-enter the deal and Israel’s expectations and public demands against it.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!