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Benny Gantz, Blue and White Party leader. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

The two main contenders in Israel’s March 2 elections — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leader of Blue and White party Benny Gantz — separately meet with President Trump today at the White House to discuss his peace plan, which is expected to be released tomorrow.  

Why it matters: Trump made this unusual move of inviting Netanyahu and Gantz, who is considered a party leader but holds no official position, because he wants to make sure both are on board regarding his peace plan, regardless of who wins the elections.

Details: Trump is to meet with Netanyahu first, at 11 a.m., and then with Gantz at 12:30 p.m. VP Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, senior adviser Jared Kushner and other Trump aides are expected to attend both meetings.

The intrigue: As Trump unveils his peace plan on Tuesday, the Israeli Knesset will vote on forming a special committee to strip Netanyahu from his immunity due to his indictments.

  • Netanyahu’s hearing at the committee is expected to start on Thursday.
  • Gantz said he will return to Israel right after meeting with Trump to lead the efforts on stripping Netanyahu from his immunity.
  • Gantz has a majority in the Knesset to do just that.
  • Gantz wants the next few weeks of the campaign to focus on Netanyahu’s fight for keeping his immunity against trial.

What's next: Netanyahu will stay in Washington until Wednesday evening. He'll meet Trump again Tuesday for plan's release.

  • Netanyahu wants Trump to green light immediate annexation of the West Bank right after the release of the White House peace plan.
  • Netanyahu hopes this will shift the campaign from his legal situation to an annexation agenda that will mobilize his right wing base and raise the chances of him winning the elections.

Of note: Gantz does not support unilateral annexation steps in the West Bank. He has already announced his support for the Trump peace plan but said it should be implemented only after the March 2 elections and the formation of a new government.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

"I was horrified": Leaders respond to footage of Black and Latino Army officer threatened at traffic stop

An Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after he said they drew their guns and pepper-sprayed him during a traffic stop in December.

Why it matters: Footage of the incident has drawn widespread criticism from leaders and groups in the state. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is heard saying “I’m honestly afraid to get out," to which a police officer responds “Yeah, you should be," in a video from a body-worn camera.

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.