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The last election campaign, in 2006. Photo: Menhaem Kahana/AFP via Getty

The Palestinian Authority is trying to convince the Biden administration to support the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections, planned for May 22, and not to object to the participation of Hamas.

Why it matters: The elections currently appear to be a low priority for the Biden administration — but that will change if they actually take place, and in particular, if they're won by Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror organization.

Flashback: Hamas' victory in the last elections, in 2006, surprised the George W. Bush administration, which had pressed for the elections and for Hamas to be allowed to participate.

  • The U.S. and many other Western countries boycotted Hamas after its victory and demanded the group renounce violence, recognize Israel and commit to previous agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas refused.
  • Elections have been planned since 2006 but never held.

The state of play: Many senior Palestinian officials said in recent days that the elections will indeed take place as preparations have passed the point of no return. The deadline for selecting candidate lists is March 31.

Driving the news: Three weeks ago, Palestinian Civilian Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh sent a letter to Hady Amr, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel-Palestine, about the upcoming elections.

  • Sheikh — who is positioning himself as the main point of contact in the Palestinian Authority for the Biden administration following the death of former PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat — claimed Hamas committed itself to nonviolence and agreed to the PLO parameters of the two-state solution. 
  • Yes, but: Hamas has not followed with a clear statement of its own.

What's next: State Department officials stressed that the exercise of democratic elections is a matter for the Palestinian people to determine.

  • But for now, it seems the Biden administration is sticking to the general policy of all U.S. administrations since 2006.
  • “We note that the U.S. and other key partners in the international community have long been clear about the importance of participants in the democratic process accepting previous agreements, renouncing violence and terrorism and recognizing Israel’s right to exist," a State Department official told Axios.

The bottom line: If the elections do proceed on schedule, the Biden administration will have to shape a policy of its own — or at least brace for a contentious outcome.

Go deeper

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

This arthritis drug cost $198 in 2008. Now it's more than $10,000

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2008, a box of 30 anti-inflammatory rectal suppositories that treats arthritis, called Indocin, had a price tag of $198. As of Oct. 1, the price of that same box was 52 times higher, totaling $10,350.

Why it matters: As federal lawmakers continue to waver on drug price reforms, Indocin is another example of how nothing prevents drug companies from hiking prices at will and selling them within a broken supply chain.