Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Palestinian protestors at the Gaza-Israel border on May 14, 2018. Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The contrast could not be starker between the celebratory proceedings marking the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and the border clashes on Monday that have resulted in 52 casualties — the bloodiest day for Gaza since the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.

Why it matters: Both events add more fuel to the already combustible dynamics between the Palestinians and Israel. The embassy move has led the Palestinian Authority to sever contact with President Trump's administration, severely reducing any chances for the resumption of peace diplomacy, while the deaths of Gazan protestors have increased the possibility of another war between Israel and Hamas.

The background: Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the U.S. embassy's new home fulfills his campaign promise to finally implement the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. Previous presidents, concerned with the repercussions of such a decision, had signed national security waivers every six months postponing the relocation. While enthusiastically welcomed in Israel, the decision is opposed by the majority of the international community. It has also caused anger among Palestinian leaders and public.

The embassy protests in Gaza Monday follow a series of planned weekly demonstrations that began March 30 and culminate on May 15, the date marking the creation of Israel in 1948 that Palestinians termed Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) Day. Protestors, who include Hamas operatives as well as a much larger number of Gazan civilians, have been driven by a combination of nationalistic aims — especially the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees displaced in the 1948 war and their descendants — as well as the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation in the coastal strip. While largely peaceful, some of these demonstrators did make attempts to breach the border fence between Gaza and Israel and to use kites fitted with Molotovs. Before Monday's casualties, more than 40 Palestinians had already been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began.

What's next: The immediate concern is whether the situation along the border can be de-escalated. While conventional wisdom holds that neither Hamas nor Israel are interested in a new all-out war, the high number of Palestinian casualties may impel escalation. Even if immediate escalation is avoided, however, the lack of policies to resolve the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza will likely result in ongoing instability in the impoverished, densely populated enclave. While President Trump and the administration talk about an American peace plan, the tensions in Gaza and the diplomatic disruption caused by the embassy move have deepened skepticism about its prospects of success.

Ghaith al-Omari is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”