Netanyahu with Jared Kushner. Photo: Getty Images

The White House has made it clear to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that it expects him to hold off on any immediate unilateral steps — like annexing parts of the West Bank — after President Trump's peace plan is presented later today, three Israeli and U.S. sources briefed on the matter tell me.

Why it matters: Netanyahu hoped to get a green light from the White House to begin annexations in the West Bank, something that would mobilize his base ahead of the March 2 elections.

State of play: Netanyahu is joining Trump for the unveiling of the plan, which is supported by both him and his primary rival, Benny Gantz. The Palestinians boycotted the process and have preemptively rejected the plan.

Behind the scenes: Israeli and U.S. sources tell me the White House position was also conveyed to Gantz, who met President Trump yesterday.

There are several reasons for the White House position: 

  1. The White House wants to get public support for its plan from Arab states, several of which have already told the White House they'll call it "a good start", according to Arab officials. Annexations could change that equation.
  2. The White House knows the Palestinians will reject the peace plan immediately, but wants to leave them space to reconsider if Trump wins a second term. Annexation by Israel could shut the door permanently. 
  3. King Abdullah of Jordan, whose statements on the plan will be closely watched, vehemently objects Israeli annexations.

The White House refrained from commenting.

  • The latest: Earlier today, Netanyahu surrendered his immunity from three corruption charges just minutes before the Knesset was set to form a committee expected to strip it from him.

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1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.