The big picture

Why Israel’s annexation plans matter for the region

Decades of tensions could explode across the region

Jun 30, 2020 - World
Behind the scenes of Trump's shift on Israeli settlements

Rex Tillerson was opposed, but Pompeo gave the "green light"

Nov 19, 2019 - World
Report finds uptick in "anti-Israel" activity on college campuses

American students ran at least 28 campaigns during the 2018–19 academic year to protest the Israeli government.

Nov 3, 2019 - World
Top 2020 Dems wouldn't reverse Trump's Jerusalem embassy decision

Despite having chastised Trump for moving it to Jerusalem in 2017.

Jul 14, 2019 - Politics & Policy

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17 hours ago - World

Trump administration renews push for Israel-Lebanon talks on Mediterranean gas fields

The platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coast. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration has renewed its push for opening direct talks between Israel and Lebanon on the demarcation of their maritime borders in order to find a solution for the dispute between both countries over natural gas explorations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Israeli and U.S. officials told me.

Why it matters: Israeli officials say the Trump administration hopes to launch Israeli-Lebanese diplomatic talks before November's election. There have been no such talks between the countries in 30 years, and renewing Israeli-Lebanese negotiations would be a big achievement for the White House.

Sep 15, 2020 - World

Kushner expects more countries to normalize with Israel before Palestinian deal

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN on Tuesday that he expects more Arab countries to follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel before Palestinian leadership agrees to a peace deal.

Why it matters: After hosting a White House signing ceremony on Tuesday that formalized diplomatic ties between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, President Trump told reporters that he expects seven to nine more countries — including possibly Saudi Arabia — to agree to a similar move.

Updated Sep 15, 2020 - World

Israel signs normalization deals with UAE and Bahrain at White House ceremony

President Trump presided over U.S.-brokered normalization agreements between Israel and Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates at the White House on Tuesday, cementing formal diplomatic ties between the countries through deals with few public details.

Why it matters: "The last Arab state to make peace with Israel was Jordan, in 1994. Egypt was the first, in 1979. The agreement is also significant for relegating the Palestinians to the sidelines," WashPost reports.

Sep 15, 2020 - World

UAE minister: Israel agreement will include two-state solution reference

The agreement between the UAE and Israel that will be signed on Tuesday mentions the Palestinian issue and the two-state solution as part of a reference to previous agreements which were signed, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told me in a Zoom briefing.

Why it matters: Gargash’s comments gave the first substantive details from the agreement which up to now remained completely secret. The UAE pushed back on criticism against the agreement, with Israel stressing the deal will also help the Palestinians.

Sep 14, 2020 - World

Netanyahu offsets historic UAE, Bahrain accords with Israel's return to COVID lockdown

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a briefing on coronavirus developments in Israel at his office in Jerusalem, on Sept. 13. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was balancing his greatest achievement against his greatest failure as he arrived in Washington on Monday.

Why it matters: Netanyahu on Tuesday will be among those at the White House to sign historic and strategic agreements normalizing relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, while back home, Israelis grapple with the economic and health crisis brought by a second lockdown to contain the coronavirus. The virus has made many Israelis indifferent to the big event at the White House.

Sep 13, 2020 - World

Israel to reimpose 3-week lockdown after surge in coronavirus cases

Photo: Yonathan Sindel/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday the government will impose a three-week lockdown in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza following a major resurgence in coronavirus cases, AP reports.

Why it matters: Israel is the first developed country to re-enter lockdown, which it had initially lifted in May, according to Haaretz. The lockdown will begin on Friday, coinciding with the start of Rosh Hashanah.

Sep 11, 2020 - World

Behind the scenes of the U.S.-brokered Israel-Bahrain agreement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairing the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem and Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa. Photo: RONEN ZVULUN / Getty Images

Hours after the August 13 announcement of the U.S.-brokered normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, senior Bahraini officials called President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner and White House envoy Avi Berkowitz with a message: "We want to be next," U.S. officials involved in the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Israel and Bahrain had a secret relationship for over two decades, meaning neither country had diplomatic relations and most of their contacts were through covert talks behind the scenes. However the talks which led to the joint statement on establishing full diplomatic relations took just 29 days.

Sep 11, 2020 - World

Palestinian president calls Bahraini normalization "betrayal of the Palestinians and Jerusalem"

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: ALAA BADARNEH / Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the U.S.-brokered Bahrain-Israel agreement, as his office issued a statement, saying “the Palestinian leadership see this as a betrayal of the Palestinian issue, of Jerusalem and of the al-Aqsa mosque” by Bahrain.

Why it matters: The Bahraini decision to follow the Untied Arab Emirates and normalize relations with Israel is a further blow to the Palestinians, who are losing Arab support. Earlier this week, the Palestinians failed to get the Arab League to back them in condemning the Israel-UAE agreement.

Updated Sep 11, 2020 - World

Trump announces Bahrain joining UAE in normalizing ties with Israel

President Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The White House on Friday announced that Bahrain is joining the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel.

Driving the news: In a phone call between President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain's King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Israeli and Bahraini leaders agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Sep 11, 2020 - World

Netanyahu backtracks from flying to D.C. on private jet

Photo: Alex Kolomiensky/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

After facing widespread public criticism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is backtracking on his decision to fly with his family on a private jet to the signing ceremony of the Israel-UAE normalization agreement next week at the White House.

Why it matters: Netanyahu’s office tried to hide the fact he is planning to travel on a private jet, but when the story broke yesterday in the Israeli press Netanyahu was attacked for being indifferent to the economic and health crisis in Israel.

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