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Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising supporters that he will convince President Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and all settlements on the West Bank if he wins Thursday's primary to lead the Likud Party.

Why it matters: Israel's embattled prime minister is facing his first serious challenge from within his party in over a decade. In a video published on social media accounts, he's trying to mobilize support among hardline party members from the settlements.

  • His opponent Gideon Sa’ar led a hardline right-wing campaign and attacked Netanyahu for being soft on the Palestinians and for not implementing his promises for annexation and expanding settlements.

What he's saying: “The same way I got Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights and the American statement that the settlements doesn’t contradict international law…I am going to do something more — I am going to bring U.S. recognition in our sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and in all the settlements — this is the next stage — and only I can get this,” Netanyahu says in the video.

The catch: Several days before the September elections, Netanyahu announced he would annex the Jordan Valley and all the settlements in the West Bank if elected, but he failed to form a government.

  • When a scenario of a third election became real he said publicly that he had discussed his annexation plan with President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, giving the impression he had Trump and Pompeo’s support.
  • The State Department denied Pompeo had ever discussed the issue with Netanyahu.

What they're not saying: The White House never confirmed Trump discussed the issue with Netanyahu.

  • White House officials were careful not to publicly deny Netanyahu’s claims and haven’t publicly stated their position was on Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, in order not to get dragged into the Israeli election campaign.
  • But sources who spoke to White House officials got the impression they were not happy with Netanyahu’s annexation comments and his insinuations that Trump supported it.

Go deeper: Israel heads for third elections with Netanyahu weakened by indictments

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
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Dave Lawler, author of World
6 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.