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Jared Kushner and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah last year. Photo: Palestinian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a group of Israeli legislators who met him today in his office in Ramallah that President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt asked him in one of their meetings if he supports forming a Palestinian-Jordanian confederacy as part of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Why it matters: Most of the details about the talks Kushner and Greenblatt had with the Israelis and the Palestinians over the last 18 months regarding their peace plan have never leaked. This is the first time any of the players in the region has mentioned that the U.S. has explored the possibility of a Palestinian-Jordanian confederacy. This idea hasn't been on the table in Middle East peace talks in the last 25 years.

  • Two people who attended the meeting and took notes told me Abbas said he told Kushner and Greenblatt he would agree to a trilateral confederacy comprised of Israel, Jordan and Palestine. "I asked them if the Israelis would agree to such a confederacy but they said they didn't know," Abbas told the Israeli members of Knesset in the meeting today.

More details from the meeting, according to the two people who attended:

  • Abbas said that in all four of his meetings with Trump, the president had told him he supports a two-state solution. Abbas said he thinks Trump might have changed his mind about this.
  • Abbas also said the current U.S. policy is hostile towards the Palestinians and closes any possibility to make progress in the peace process. He stressed that he is against the upcoming White House peace plan.
  • Abbas criticized the Trump administration's decision to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and called the move disappointing and dangerous, adding that he has always said that the return of millions of Palestinian refugees will destroy Israel and he does not want to destroy Israel but live side-by-side with it. Abbas said a formula can be found that will not harm Israel but will give provide solution for the refugees. "The Arab peace initiative talks about an agreed upon solution to the refugee issue," he said.

From the White House: Greenblatt said, ‎"Over the past 19 months we have probed all relevant parties about many ideas and possibilities. The plan, when released, will reflect ideas that we think are realistic, fair and implementable that will enhance the lives of the Israeli and Palestinian people. We will not discuss any specific ideas or private conversations that may or may not have been had with leaders in the region.”

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.