Jan 28, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 493 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Trump's two-state solution

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Surprise: Israel plans to immediately act on the White House's green light, voting as soon as this weekend on a plan to annex 30% of the West Bank.

Why it matters: Despite the reluctance of past administrations to redraw borders in the Middle East — an exceedingly delicate exercise — this plan includes a map.

  • The 181-page plan is designed to create pressure for the parties to come back to the table. And Trump is willing to spend some capital to build support.
  • Despite how tightly the administration has tied itself to Israel, and how emphatically the Palestinians have rejected it, countries including the U.K. and the UAE have described it as "serious."
  • This was one of the most closely held secrets in the U.S. government, with Jared Kushner as the maestro — and zero leaks.

The big picture: President Trump described this as the Palestinians' best and perhaps final chance to negotiate for a state, but his plan includes no “right of return” for refugees and gives Israel control of Jerusalem and over security in the West Bank.

  • The plan allows Israel to immediately annex existing settlements in the West Bank, although it calls for a four-year freeze on new settlements.
  • Trump's conditions include that Hamas will disarm and the new Palestinian state will recognize Israel as a Jewish state, per the Telegraph's Raf Sanchez.

Between the lines: The negotiating table has been empty since the White House moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in 2017.

  • Trump to Palestinian President Abbas: “I want you to know that if you choose the path to peace, America and many other countries, we will be there, we will be there to help you in so many different ways.”
  • Abbas in response: "Trump, Jerusalem is not for sale. Our rights are not for sale. Your conspiracy deal will not pass."
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, embraced the deal that was announced the same day he surrendered immunity from corruption charges.

The bottom line: None of the officials who Axios' Jonathan Swan has spoken to in the region is optimistic that peace can be accomplished while Netanyahu and Abbas are the leaders in power.

Go deeper: Read the plan, and see the map below.

Source: Trump peace plan
Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Luis M. Alvarez/AP

John Bolton leaves his home in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • On Capitol Hill, the White House closed out its opening arguments today.
  • Go deeper.
2. What you missed
  1. A 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck the northwest coast of Jamaica. Updates.
  2. BuzzFeed News editor Ben Smith is leaving the company that he helped build and define after eight years to join the New York Times as a media columnist. Go deeper.
  3. The U.S. government's budget deficit is projected to top $1 trillion in 2020. Go deeper.
  4. Federal prosecutors have charged the chair of Harvard's chemistry department with lying about funds he obtained through a Chinese government recruitment program. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing

Grow lights cover a portion of the grass field inside Hard Rock Stadium. Photo: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

How 'bout that headline: "The most VIP Super Bowl weekend costs $1.5M, includes butler," the AP reports.

Between the lines: "The city’s most luxurious hotels, clubs and restaurants are offering over-the-top packages to entice big spenders looking for action outside the end zone."

  • "One package includes a 4-day cruise around the Caribbean on a private yacht after the game for $720,000."
  • "On Location Experiences’ Sam Soni says their top Super Bowl package last year in Atlanta went for $17,500."