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Hundreds of African asylum seekers at a protest in Jerusalem last year against Israel's deportation policy. Photo: GALI TIBBON / AFP / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a dramatic move on Monday said he's suspending a new agreement with the U.N. announced just hours earlier, which would have resettled thousands of migrants in Western countries over five years and granted legal status to those remaining in Israel.

What's happening: Local reports said the backtrack comes amid right-wing criticism of the deal. In a Facebook post, Netanyahu said: "I am attentive to you, and first to the people of South Tel Aviv," adding that he's meeting with officials Tuesday on the matter.

The earlier plan: Netanyahu's office had previously announced an "unprecedented common understanding" with the U.N. to resettle at least 16,250 to unnamed Western countries. Netanyahu had given the migrants — who fled to escape war, economic hardship and persecution — until the end of March to leave or face jail time. They were also offered $3,500 and free airfare.

  • The deportation plan had sparked rebuke from liberal Israelis, Holocaust survivors and their American Jewish allies, and led Israel's Supreme Court last month to temporarily halt the deportation order.
  • Israel had been cracking down on the influx of African migrants, many of whom entered illegally from Sudan and Eritrea, generating racial and politically-charged debates over their future in the country. According to the U.N., there are more than 34,500 Eritreans and 7,700 Sudanese in Israel.
  • Per The New York Times, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned that the migrants would endanger Israel's “existence as a Jewish and democratic state."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

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