Greenblatt (seated) with Jared Kushner at a Middle East summit in Warsaw. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Today at a closed door meeting of the UN Security Council, President Trump's Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, defended Israel's decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues over the Palestinian Authority's payments to families of terrorists, U.S. officials told me.

"The time has come to make it clear that the Palestinian Authority, if it aspires to the status of a government, it must behave like one. It is unacceptable for the Palestinian Authority to pay these terrorists and their families a reward for criminal acts."
— Greenblatt at the meeting

Why it matters: The U.S. was the only member of the Security Council to defend the Israeli measure, which is a violation of the Oslo Accords. Other member states called on Israel to resume the transfer of the tax revenues according to its agreements with the Palestinians. 

The backdrop: The Israeli cabinet decided two weeks ago to freeze more than $150 million in Palestinian tax revenues over the course of a year.

  • The Palestinian Authority rejected the move, saying it would not accept any tax revenues from Israel if they were not in the full amount.
  • The tax revenues are a huge part of the Palestinian Authority's budget and without them the economic crisis in the West Bank and Gaza will further deteriorate.  
  • This decision was partially influenced by the current election campaign. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is at risk of being forced out of power.

U.S. officials said Greenblatt told the members of the Security Council that any other country would act as Israel did toward a country that was paying terrorists who attacked its citizens.

"It is entirely inappropriate to focus on Israel as the source of this crisis. It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to manufacture the current crisis.  ... "The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept over $150 million in revenue to protest the fact that $11 million is being withheld, only to make a political point.  Does that sound like a governing authority that is concerned with the welfare of its people?".
— Greenblatt

Go deeper

Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.