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Netanyahu (L) with Trump. Photo: Getty

The Trump administration does not view the new Israeli government's July 1 deadline to begin the process of annexing parts of the West Bank as a "do or die" date, a senior U.S. official tells me.

Why it matters: Israel will want an American “green light” before making any moves on annexation.

The backstory: The coalition deal that allowed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government says he can bring "the understandings with the Trump administration" on annexation up for a vote in the cabinet or parliament as early as July 1 — but only with the full agreement of the White House.

The latest: Pompeo will meet in Jerusalem on Wednesday with Netanyahu, incoming Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, and incoming Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi.

  • Pompeo was non-committal on the timetable for annexations in an interview with Israel Hayom, a pro-Netanyahu newspaper.
  • He's not expected to make any commitments on this issue while in Israel, in public statements or behind closed doors, officials tell me.
  • U.S. officials tell me their focus is on the coronavirus crisis, and it would be premature to move forward on this issue.

At the same time, the Trump administration continues to warn the Palestinians that their decision to boycott talks will not work out in their favor.

  • “If the Palestinians continue to refuse to engage and don’t come to the table it could have negative consequences for them and it will make our decision-making regarding annexation much easier," a U.S. official told me
  • Palestinian leaders have rejected President Trump's proposal outright, and dismiss the idea that his administration could mediate impartially on this issue.

Go deeper

Aug 19, 2020 - World

No recognition of Israel without Palestinian state, Saudi minister says

Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Photo: John MacDougall, Pool/Getty Images

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said Wednesday that the kingdom supports peace in the Middle East on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for normalization with Israel to be paired with withdrawal from the occupied territories and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Why it matters: This could be interpreted as a cool initial response to the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the UAE.

Aug 19, 2020 - World

Scoop: Israel raises concerns with U.S. about new Saudi nuclear facility

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Pool/Getty Images

Israel has privately expressed concerns to the Trump administration about a new nuclear facility reportedly built in the Saudi desert with Chinese help, Israeli officials said.

Why it matters: This secret development raises concerns that the Saudis are building infrastructure for a future military nuclear program.

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.