May 17, 2020 - World

Netanyahu calls for Israel to annex West Bank settlements at swearing-in ceremony

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."

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The European Union is considering an $826 billion coronavirus rescue package to fund recovery efforts for all member states, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.

By the numbers: More than 5.6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 355,500 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 15.1 million tests).

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: Over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Nearly 354,000 Americans have recovered and over 15.1 million tests have been conducted. California became the fourth state with at least 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 5,682,389 — Total deaths: 354,944 — Total recoveries — 2,337,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 1,697,459 — Total deaths: 100,276 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  8. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy