Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisers told Trump administration officials they have reservations about the proposal for a passage connecting the West Bank and Gaza as part of the White House Middle East peace plan, sources briefed on the matter tell me.

Why it matters: The proposal was part of the economic portion of the U.S. plan. It was revealed by the White House to Netanyahu and his aides two weeks before the plan was made public, Israeli officials say. Netanyahu has publicly stressed several times that Israel will keep an open mind about the plan. 

The big picture: The economic plan focused almost exclusively on boosting the Palestinian economy and on investments in infrastructure, health and education. But the $5 billion proposal for a highway and railway between the West Bank and Gaza has political significance.

  • It showed the U.S. sees the West Bank and Gaza as one territorial unit in any future peace deal. That's in conflict with Israel's policy, in place for over a decade, of keeping the West Bank and Gaza separate.
  • The main reservation Netanyahu and his aides conveyed to the Trump administration had to do with security, the sources say.
  • They say Israel gave U.S. officials examples of how even today — with no transportation corridor and Israel in full control of Gaza’s borders — Hamas attempts to transfer operatives, messages and know-how from Gaza to the West Bank by exploiting entry permits granted for humanitarian reasons.

Between the lines: Jason Greenblatt, the White House special envoy for Middle East peace, referred to the issue in remarks two weeks ago at a conference in Israel. His comments went unnoticed and unreported until now.

  • Greenblatt said the White House team tried to avoid political issues in the first phase of the plan, but the Gaza-West Bank passage was an exception.
  • He said the decision to include it was based on the importance of integration between the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians and on the fact that such a passage is necessary to make a success of the economic plan.

Greenblatt said the pushback from the Israeli side "surprised me" because the White House team had made repeated assurances that "Israel's security is first and foremost" in the plan.

  • "We are not suggesting any corridor whatsoever that doesn't completely make Israel comfortable that it will not be a danger to Israel," he said at the conference.

Greenblatt tells me his comments referenced pushback from Israeli private citizens, not the government. 

  • “I am not aware of any official pushback from the Israeli government on this point for now," he added.
  • Greenblatt emphasized the importance of Israel's security and said "this connection can only be a part of a comprehensive deal if it is acceptable to Israel and all security issues can be thoroughly addressed."

Go deeper

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

Exclusive: Hundreds of kids held in Border Patrol stations

Migrants cross the Rio Bravo to get to El Paso, Texas. Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images

More than 700 children who crossed from Mexico into the United States without their parents were in Border Patrol custody as of Sunday, according to an internal Customs and Border Protection document obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The current backup is yet another sign of a brewing crisis for President Biden — and a worsening dilemma for these vulnerable children. Biden is finding it's easier to talk about preventing warehousing kids at the southern border than solving the problem.

Pompeo plots 2024 power play

Mike Pompeo in Washington on Feb. 12. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Mike Pompeo has quickly reentered the political fray, raising money for Republicans, addressing key political gatherings and joining an advocacy group run by Donald Trump's former lawyer.

Why it matters: The former secretary of state is widely considered a potential 2024 presidential contender. His professional moves this week indicate he's working to keep his name in the headlines and bolster a political brand built largely on foreign policies easily contrasted with the Biden White House.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!