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The U.S. government has ceased all security assistance to the Palestinian Authority for training and equipment starting today, a U.S. embassy official told me.

Why it matters: The move coincides with the new anti-terrorism clarification law (ATCA) going into effect. The official said the U.S. security coordinator and his team will continue to conduct a security cooperation-only mission.

Between the lines: U.S. aid to Palestinian security forces was supposed to be $60 million for 2019.

  • An Israeli security official tells me Israel and the Trump administration are still trying to find a solution that will allow the renewal of U.S. aid to the Palestinian security forces.
  • The official added: "The cessation of U.S. security assistance will harm the ability of Palestinian security forces to function and could harm security coordination with Israel and create tensions on the ground."

Background: The Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) forces foreign organizations to be subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts if they accept certain forms of assistance from the U.S. government. It was signed by President Trump last October with the intention of ensuring the Palestinian Authority pays compensation to terror victims who won civil suits against the PLO in U.S. courts.

  • The Palestinian Authority said that accepting the conditions of the ATCA would open them up to billions of dollars in potential liabilities. For that reason, the Palestinians have asked the U.S. not to provide aid after the law goes into effect.
  • The law was pushed by right-wing nongovernmental organizations in Israel and Republican members of Congress. At the time it was signed, few in the Israeli government, Trump administration or Congress realized its potentially problematic consequences.
  • Last week we reported that the Israeli government has warned the Trump administration from the negative consequences of the law and asked to amend it.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
3 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

4 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.