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Palestinians burn posters of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump during a protest against the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Gaza City Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. Photo: Khalil Hamra / AP

Domestic politics drove President Trump's potentially costly decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital: Even senior White House officials said they're "prepared for derailment" of Middle East peace efforts — temporarily, they hope.

Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 10 News, an Axios contributor, gives me this day-after scouting report from Tel Aviv:

  1. The Israeli government is jubilant. For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this is the first big diplomatic achievement since Trump entered the Oval Office. But this is also a big political win for Netanyahu, who is entangled in police investigations over alleged corruption and has taken a hit in the latest polls.
  2. Palestinians are depressed. President Abbas managed to mobilize the entire Arab world and part of the Western world in an attempt to stop Trump's move, but failed. Some unrest is already felt in Palestinian cities, but the big thing to look at is what happens after the Friday prayers.
  3. Putting aside the symbolism of the U.S. recognition and the emotional reactions from both parties, a careful reading of Trump's speech shows one very important message regarding possible U.S. peace plan. Trump said he is going to do everything in his power to help the sides in getting a peace agreement and added: "Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks." So the future of Jerusalem, its borders and sovereignty will be on the table in every Trump-sponsored peace talk.
  4. Whether it is even possible to renew peace talks after Trump's speech remains to be seen.

Expecting a backlash, the State Department is asking Israel to restrain its official response "and is weighing the potential threat to U.S. facilities and people," according to a document seen by Reuters.

  • From talking points for diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to convey to Israeli officials: "We expect there to be resistance to this news in the Middle East and around the world."
  • Be smart: Trump's defiant decision reflects the focus on his domestic base (including evangelical Christians), regardless of international repercussions, that led him to renounce the Paris climate accord.

L.A. Times: "In his view, he is the president who pushes through toward 'historic' change while those around him urge equivocation. He is the president who bluntly scorns the judgment of elites. And he is the president who tallies 'promises kept.'"

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Go deeper

6 mins ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."

UN warns of "catastrophic" climate change failure without more emissions cuts

UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a news conference. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

A United Nations report released Friday warned that the planet will likely warm by more than 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century unless governments take extra steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Why it matters: The report, released just months ahead of November's UN Climate Summit, highlights the growing pressure on global leaders to crack down on emissions to avert the worst effects of climate change.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon approves request for 100 National Guard troops for "Justice for J6" rally

Security fencing has been reinstalled around the Capitol. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request from Capitol Police to provide 100 D.C. National Guard troops in case law enforcement requires additional support at Saturday's "Justice for J6" rally at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Security preparations have ramped up ahead of the pro-Trump demonstration, where hundreds of protesters sympathetic to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are expected to gather.