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Trump and Netanyahu at the White House. Photo: Getty

The implementation of President Trump's Middle East peace plan is one of the main stumbling blocks in negotiations for an emergency government between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival, Benny Gantz.

Why it matters: The government would be tasked primarily with handling the coronavirus crisis. In negotiations, though, Netanyahu has raised his intention to annex areas Trump's plan envisions as part of Israel. Gantz is opposed to unilateral annexations, his aides tell me.

Between the lines: While Gantz publicly supported the Trump plan, he would prefer to first try to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians, who bitterly oppose Trump's plan.

  • Gantz is also concerned the deal could jeopardize Israel's peace deal with Jordan, which also opposes annexations.
  • He has demanded that the emergency government maintain the status quo for at least six months, after which they can revisit the issue and try to find a path forward.

What to watch: This issue is unlikely to prevent a deal between Netanyahu and Gantz, but it could lead to a coalition crisis down the road.

  • Netanyahu envisions annexation of the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements as his main legacy after more than a decade as prime minister.

Where things stand: Trump called Netanyahu on Thursday to congratulate him on the impending formation of his new government. Trump has yet to call Gantz, who under the deal will replace Netanyahu as prime minister in 18 months.

  • It is unclear how closely the Trump administration will engage on the annexation issue, particularly in an election year and while it is dealing with a coronavirus crisis of its own.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.