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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (L) talks with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn is pushing for all member states of the European Union to recognize Palestine, a reaction to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that the U.S. doesn’t see the Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal, European officials tell me.

Why it matters: Luxemburg is one of the smallest countries in the EU, but Asselborn — who has served in his position for 15 years — has significant standing and influence among Europe's foreign ministers.

  • His efforts also come in the context of a relative diplomatic vacuum regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as concerns within the EU about the Trump administration's policies toward the region.

Behind the scenes: Last week, Asselborn sent a letter to the new EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and to all other EU foreign ministers stressing that the way to save the two-state solution is to create “a more equitable situation” between Israel and the Palestinians.

  • Therefore, he wrote, "it is time to start a debate within the European Union on the opportunity of a recognition of the State of Palestine by all its Member States."

Asselborn also wrote in his letter:

"The recognition of Palestine as a State would neither be a favour, nor a blank check, but a simple recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to their own State. In no way would it be directed against Israel. Indeed, if we want to contribute to solving the conflict between Israel and Palestine, we must never lose sight of Israel’s security conditions, as well as of justice and dignity for the Palestinian people”.

Driving the news: The letter was sent in advance of the monthly meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday in Brussels. The Israeli Foreign Ministry discovered the initiative last Friday and urgently sent Israeli diplomats scrambling across the continent to find out whether the EU was prepared to take the dramatic step.

  • Israel is very concerned about the initiative. But while ministers are expected to take note of Asselborn's letter, Israeli and European officials say the issue will not be discussed in Monday's meeting.
  • A broader discussion about the issue is expected to take place during the next EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in January.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

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DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."