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Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech at the swearing-in ceremony of the new Israeli government Sunday that now is the time to annex the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Unlike in previous speeches, Netanyahu didn’t mention his intention to annex the Jordan Valley, which makes up 20% of the West Bank.

Why it matters: In the last several days since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Jerusalem, Trump administration officials have signaled several times that they don’t want Israel to move forward on annexation at this moment. The State Department has said annexation should be part of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians on the White House peace plan.

The big picture: The coalition deal that allowed Netanyahu to form the 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 swearing-in of the Israeli government ends more than a year of political crisis in which Israel held three consecutive elections with no clear result.
  • The new power-sharing government includes a rotation in the position of prime minister. In 18 months, Netanyahu is expected to be replaced by Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White party, who will serve until then as the "alternate prime minister" and the minister of defense.

What they're saying: "We warmly welcome the announcement of the formation of a new Government of Israel," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Sunday. "We are extremely fortunate to have such strong and experienced partners in Jerusalem, and we will work together to advance the security and prosperity of our peoples."

Go deeper

Aug 20, 2020 - World

UAE's deal with Israel should "make it easier" to buy F-35s, minister says

Gargash. Photo: Getty

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said Thursday that his country's normalization deal with Israel should "make it easier" to buy F-35 fighter jets from the U.S..

Why it matters: Israel is the only country in the Middle East to possess the F-35, America's most advanced fighter aircraft, and reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed off on potential sales to the UAE — which he denies — ignited a political controversy in Israel.

Aug 23, 2020 - World

Kushner: Sale of F-35s to UAE is more likely after normalization deal

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN Sunday that the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the UAE increases the probability that the Trump administration would agree to sell F-35 jets to the UAE.

Why it matters: Israel is the only country in the Middle East to possess the F-35, the United States' most advanced fighter aircraft. Reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed off on potential sales to the UAE — which he denies — ignited a political controversy in Israel.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 4 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.