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Trump and Netanyahu announce the peace plan at the White House Tuesday. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump is nowhere near a deal on Middle East peace, but his long-awaited plan has immediate and dramatic implications for the reality on the ground.

Driving the news: The White House gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a green light to immediately annex about 30% of the West Bank, a step every previous U.S. administration vehemently opposed. Netanyahu plans to act on that opportunity as soon as Sunday.

Our thought bubble: If Israel does annex the Jordan Valley, it will entrench Israel’s control and fundamentally change the equation for any future negotiations.

  • Green-lighting annexations is an even more dramatic step from Trump than moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
  • It could also ultimately be the least reversible of those steps. Once annexation happens, it’s hard to reverse.

For Netanyahu, this could be the biggest moment in a political career that has been remarkable for its longevity but not for landmark accomplishments.

  • He stood alongside Trump during the announcement — just hours after surrendering immunity from three corruption indictments, and one month before an election that could bring his political career to an end.
  • Annexing the Jordan Valley could keep right-wing voters who’d considered backing Benny Gantz, his primary rival, in his corner. It would certainly be central to his legacy.

For the Palestinians, who have boycotted this process, the full benefits of the plan would come far more slowly even if they were willing to go along with it.

  • The plan envisions a Palestinian state if a number of conditions are met over four years, but rejects a “right of return” for refugees and grants Israel control of nearly all of Jerusalem — not to mention much of the West Bank.
  • That’s a complete non-starter. “They turned down three previous plans that included 100% of the West Bank,” says David Makovsky, who worked on a previous initiative led by then-Secretary of State John Kerry.

What to watch: Arab states like the UAE and Egypt that had previously stood by the Palestinians on this issue have offered cautious support for Trump’s plan. Only Jordan, where most Palestinians reside, has expressed concern.

  • If the annexations go ahead, experts worry Jordan could pull out of a landmark peace treaty with Israel.
  • Makovsky says annexation could potentially rally the rest of the Arab world against the deal, and would certainly overshadow other parts of the deal he considers creative and constructive.
  • There are also concerns among Israeli defense officials that the opposition of the Palestinians could turn into an uprising in the territories.

Go deeper

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California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.