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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

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.