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Benjamin Netanyahu (L), Benny Gantz. Photos: Sean Gallup/Getty Staff, Jack Guez/Getty Contributor

The White House is opposed to Israel's moves to annex the West Bank prior to the release of the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, senior U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that he wants Israel's parliament, the Knesset, to vote on the annexation of the Jordan Valley as soon as next week, but the White House position dramatically reduces the chances of that happening.

Between the lines: The U.S. officials said the Trump administration has made its position clear to the Israeli government, and Netanyahu is aware that the U.S. doesn’t want Israel to take any unilateral steps before the peace plan is published.

Details: Netanyahu's new annexation statements came after his main opponent in upcoming elections, Benny Gantz, visited the Jordan Valley and announced he will annex the Jordan Valley "in coordination with the international community" if he wins on March 2.

  • Netanyahu quickly announced he is ready to bring annexation to a vote in the Knesset.
  • A Twitter brawl erupted between the prime minister and Gantz after Netanyahu's announcement — with the politicians attacking each other for not being serious about annexation.
  • The back-and-forth underscores the fierce fight for right-wing voters.

The bottom line: It is still unclear when the U.S. peace plan will be presented. U.S. officials say Trump is expected to announce his decision in the next few days.

  • President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner had been scheduled to arrive in Israel Wednesday to discuss the issue with Netanyahu and Gantz, but cancelled his trip due to bad weather.
  • Kushner was also supposed to visit Israel to participate in an international conference on fighting anti-Semitism.

Go deeper: Trump to decide in coming days on when to release Middle East peace plan

Go deeper

Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

The rise of military space powers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nations around the world are shoring up their defensive and offensive capabilities in space — for today's wars and tomorrow's.

Why it matters: Using space as a warfighting domain opens up new avenues for technologically advanced nations to dominate their enemies. But it can also make those countries more vulnerable to attack in novel ways.