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!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

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!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Israeli border patrol police stand by the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City. Photo: Mahmoud Illean / AP

President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the city "affirm[s] a historic and current reality," senior administration officials said in a call with reporters Tuesday night. The president will announce both moves in a speech Wednesday.

The big picture: Axios first reported Trump's intent on Dec. 1. Since then, Middle Eastern and European leaders have voiced concerns that the move would interfere with peace talks in the Middle East. Administration officials said the president "understands the Palestinians' aspirations" and supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if that's what both parties desire.

Go deeper with analysis from Axios contributor Barak Ravid.

The stakes
  • Jerusalem is home to holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians, and the United States has never before taken a position on claims of sovereignty over the city.
  • Trump made a campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. In 1995, Congress passed a law stating that the embassy would move to Jerusalem, but allowing presidents to put off the move for six months at a time by signing a waiver.
  • Trump will sign such a waiver delaying the move, but will announce intent to relocate the embassy during his speech.
  • Reports of Trump's announcements have already been met with resistance from the Arab world, with Palestinian factions along the West Bank border with Israel pledging "three days of rage," Israeli news organization Haaretz reports.
  • The State Department issued a travel warning for U.S. citizens going to Jerusalem's Old City and the West Bank.
  • A Lebanese newspaper tweeted a picture of its Wednesday front:
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
What the White House is thinking

Per senior administration officials:

  • It's "both the right time and the right step" to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
  • The announcement doesn't touch "aspects of sovereignty" and boundaries. These issues will be discussed as part of peace negotiations. Yes, but: Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a nod to Israel's claim to the city.
  • Trump is being "honest" by acknowledging reality in his announcement, White House officials said. Per Ravid, "The White House thinks Trump's decision to follow through on his campaign promise, even if only partially, strengthens his credibility around the world as a someone who stands by his word, not intimidated by threats and not caving to international pressure."
  • Trump supports a two-state solution, and "you'll hear mention of that" in Wednesday's speech.
What world leaders are saying
  • Trump informed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah of Jordan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of his decision Tuesday.
  • Abbas has reportedly contacted other world leaders and urged them to intervene. "Such a U.S. decision would destroy the peace process and drag the region into further instability," he said. Abbas' diplomatic adviser also said Palestinian leadership would "stop contacts" with the U.S. if Trump moves forward. Abbas also spoke on the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron who has warned Trump against the move.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: U.S. recognition is a 'red line' for Muslims, and such a step would lead Ankara to cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel.
  • Israeli officials: "Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people for 3000 years and the capital of Israel for 70 years whether Erdogan likes it or not."
  • German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel: "U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will be counterproductive & will only worsen the crisis. A solution to the issue of Jerusalem should be achieved through negotiations," per Ravid.
  • Go deeper: Warnings from around the globe

Go deeper

FBI, Homeland Security warn of increasing threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

14 mins ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).