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!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

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!

Checking the electoral roles in Hebron, West Bank. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty

Both the Biden administration and the Israeli government are concerned about a potential Hamas victory in the upcoming Palestinian elections, but neither will say so publicly so as not to be blamed for trying to sabotage the vote, Israeli officials tell me.

Driving the news: In a call last Friday with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi stressed that Israel wouldn't put any obstacles in the way of the vote, but raised concerns that divisions within President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party could pave the way for a Hamas win.

  • Blinken said the U.S. would not object to the May 22 elections.
  • Between the lines: Israeli officials say both the U.S. and Israel would be relieved if the vote were postponed.

The state of play: There will be 36 electoral lists in the upcoming elections, with just one united list for the Islamist Hamas movement and several separate lists for the secular Fatah.

  • As in the 2006 elections, infighting inside Fatah led to a rift between some of the party's most prominent officials.
  • Marwan Barghouti, a popular Fatah leader who is currently in an Israeli prison, decided to support a list headed by Nasser al-Qudwa, a former foreign minister who was expelled from Fatah over his criticism of Abbas.
  • Mohammed Dahlan, the former leader of Fatah in Gaza, will support a separate list of ex-Fatah activists.

Behind the scenes: The Blinken-Ashkenazi call was the first high-level discussion between Israel and the U.S. about the Palestinian elections, but it was relatively short part of the conversation.

  • Israeli officials tell me they are concerned that the election, and Israel-Palestinian issues in general, is a low priority for the Biden administration.

What they're saying: The State Department's public line on the Palestinian Elections appears to be a holdover from previous administrations.

  • “The exercise of democratic elections is a matter for the Palestinian people to determine," a State Department official told me, adding that it's important for participants in the democratic process to accept previous agreements, renounce violence and terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
  • Worth noting: This is the third time I have received the exact same response from the State Department about the Palestinian elections.

What’s next: A key question is whether Israel will allow Palestinians in East Jerusalem to vote. Israeli officials note that they agreed to do so in 2006, hinting it won't be an obstacle.

  • Abbas’s aides have been publicly raising this issue in recent days, which could signal they might use it as a pretext for postponing the elections.

Go deeper

Apr 6, 2021 - World

Scoop: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit Israel next week

Lloyd Austin at the White House. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to travel to Israel next week, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This will be the first Cabinet-level visit to the Middle East from the Biden administration, which has been shifting attention away from the region and toward China and Russia.

Apr 7, 2021 - World

Israel risks tensions with Biden by striking Iranian ships

Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP via Getty

Israel could be risking escalation with Iran and tensions with the Biden administration by continuing to strike Iranian ships — a risk that is exacerbated by Israel's political crisis and dysfunctional interim government.

Why it matters: An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ship was attacked in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday, the same day the Vienna talks opened.

Army officer lawsuit shines light on police treatment of Afro-Latinos

A screenshot from bodycam footage showing U.S. Army Lt. Caron Nazario during the traffic stop in December, when he was pepper-sprayed.

Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was threatened and pepper-sprayed during a traffic stop that is now under investigation by the Virginia attorney general's office for being “dangerous, unnecessary, unacceptable and avoidable.”

Why it matters: Nazario’s resulting lawsuit against the Windsor, Virginia, police department has brought attention to police treatment of Afro-Latinos, and the lack of data about it despite a growing reckoning over abuses from law enforcement.