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Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told me in an interview today that the U.S. will support Israeli annexations in the West Bank, as long as they're consistent with the maps presented in the U.S. peace plan.

Why it matters: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he'd bring plans to annex the Jordan Valley and all settlements in the West Bank before the Cabinet on Sunday. He would not have taken such a dramatic step without U.S. backing.

What he's saying:

“We set markers for the things we thought acceptable, and in exchange [for annexation] Netanyahu is prepared to take lands that are demarcated in our maps and hold those for a future Palestinian state."
— Mike Pompeo

Pompeo said the Trump plan was the best opportunity the Palestinians would have, and he urged Palestinian leaders to reconsider their decision to reject it, or to perhaps present a counter-offer.

Pompeo warned that Trump's plan could be the final offer the Palestinians receive.

“There is a real offer that sits on the table for the Palestinians — all they need to do is to say yes. We are prepared to begin negotiations based on this vision. We can start the process towards their having the state they always wanted."

Pompeo said he was not concerned that a Netanyahu loss in the March 2 election would affect the viability of the plan.

  • He said Netanyahu’s opponent, Benny Gantz, told Trump “the plan is something he will be happy to engage in, and something he thought made sense for Israel, and that can form a basis for negotiations."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

5 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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