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Yariv Levin (L) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) and Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman. Photo: Abir Sultan/AFP via Getty Images

Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Yariv Levin said in a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and settler leaders on Sunday that Israel will move forward with annexation of parts of the West Bank "within weeks," sources who attended the meeting told me.

Why it matters: Levin is heading the team formed by Netanyahu to negotiate with the Trump administration over the West Bank annexation maps. In the last few months, he has held numerous meetings and phone calls about the issue with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and his team.

The big picture: The coalition agreement that allowed Netanyahu to form his new government says he can bring "the understandings with the Trump administration" on annexation up for a vote in his Cabinet or the Knesset as early as July 1 — but only with the full agreement of the White House.

What they're saying:

  • Netanyahu was more reserved about the timetable for annexation. According to one of the people who attended the meeting, Netanyahu told settler leaders he still doesn’t have a “green light” from the White House to move forward with his annexation plan and that the details and the maps haven’t been agreed to yet with the Trump administration. Netanyahu said he is working within a tight schedule to annex "the maximum territory possible" in the West Bank.
  • The prime minister stressed in his meeting with the settler leaders that Israel needs to seize the opportunity now with Trump in the White House. "We must not make Trump think we are not interested in annexation," Netanyahu said, according to people who attended the meeting.
  • Netanyahu also told settler leaders that the Trump administration refers to a "Palestinian state" in its peace plan, but that Israel doesn't define it as such. He stressed that any Cabinet decision on annexation will not refer in any way to Israeli agreement for a Palestinian state.

What to watch: After meeting with the settlers, Netanyahu met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to discuss the annexation plan. Both Gantz and Ashkenazi have expressed deep concerns and reservations.

  • Before bringing any annexation plan to the White House for approval, Netanyahu will have to get an agreement on the details with Gantz and Ashkenazi.
  • Without such a consensus, he will have a difficult time getting a green light from the Trump administration.

Go deeper

Sep 13, 2020 - World

Israel to reimpose 3-week lockdown after surge in coronavirus cases

Photo: Yonathan Sindel/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday the government will impose a three-week lockdown in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza following a major resurgence in coronavirus cases, AP reports.

Why it matters: Israel is the first developed country to re-enter lockdown, which it had initially lifted in May, according to Haaretz. The lockdown will begin on Friday, coinciding with the start of Rosh Hashanah.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.