May 15, 2018

Palestinians recall envoy from Washington over embassy move

From L-R: Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the embassy opening. Photo: Israel Press Office /Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to recall the head of the PLO office in Washington in protest over the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

Why it matters: This move further deepens the crisis between the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority. Since President Trump's December 6th announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinian leadership has boycotted the White House and suspended almost all contacts with the Trump administration.

Where things stand:

  • The Palestinian boycott makes the White House ambition to launch a peace plan and new round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the upcoming months much more difficult to achieve.
  • Other than local contact with the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and security and counter-terrorism cooperation with the CIA and the Pentagon, ties between Washington and Ramallah have been severed.
  • The Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement that Husam Zomlot, the envoy, had already left the U.S. and will arrive in Ramallah tomorrow.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 17 mins ago - Health

Wisconsin may be the start of the 2020 election wars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wisconsin voters braving lines in face masks — after a last-minute Supreme Court ruling against extending the absentee deadline — could foreshadow a nationwide legal struggle over how to conduct elections during the coronavirus outbreak, election experts say.

Why it matters: "It's a harbinger of what's to come in the next skirmishes in the voting wars" from now through November, Richard Hasen, a professor and national election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told Axios.

New Zealand sets sights on coronavirus elimination after 2 weeks of lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives a coronavirus media update at the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington. Photo: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

AUCKLAND -- New Zealand has flattened the curve of novel coronavirus cases after two weeks of lockdown and the next phase is to "squash it," Professor Shaun Hendy, who heads a scientific body advising the government on COVID-19, told Axios.

Why it matters: The country imposed 14 days ago some of the toughest restrictions in the world in response to the pandemic, despite confirming only 102 cases and no deaths at the time.