Mideast peace

Colombia recognizes Palestine, sparking fury in Israel

Netanyahu (L) and Santos last year in Colombia. Photo: Juan David Tena/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Colombia's outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos took a secret and dramatic step in his last days in office, it was revealed last night, by recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state. Israel, a longtime ally of Colombia, was kept in the dark and is now furious, demanding the new government in Bogota reverse the decision.

Why it matters: This is a big deal. Colombia was and still is Israel's biggest ally in Latin America, sharing deep military, intelligence and political ties. After President Ivan Duque was elected, Israel discussed with people in his inner circle the possibility of Colombia moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Instead, Colombia recognized Palestine.

White House gears up for Middle East peace-plan rollout

Jared Kushner and Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands, as their wives stand next to them.
Jared Kushner and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Israel Press Office /Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

"U.S. officials say the Trump administration is staffing up a Middle East policy team at the White House in anticipation of unveiling its long awaited but largely mysterious Israeli-Palestinian peace plan," AP's Matt Lee and Zeke Miller report.

The big picture: Trump's "peace team" is being boycotted by Palestinian leadership over the U.S. embassy moving to Jerusalem. Senior U.S. officials previously told Axios contributor Barak Ravid the peace plan won't be biased in favor of Israel.