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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

2 hours ago - Health

Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific COVID vaccine

A health worker in Palestine preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 24. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have started clinical trials for a reformulated vaccine to protect against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: The rise of the Omicron variant has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines.

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.

America can't quit polarizing politicians

Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New data finds that the nation's most polarizing politicians are often the ones that garner the most attention online.

Why it matters: Online engagement helps politicians build a bigger national profile and more fundraising power, incentivizing them be more outrageous, more polarizing and more divisive.