Jason Greenblatt speaks to Jared Kushner. Photo: Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty Images

In a surprise move, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt will attend Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech this morning at the UN Security Council in New York, Western diplomats told me. Kushner and Greenblatt are the two most senior members of the White House's "Peace Team."

Why it matters: Abbas' speech at the UNSC session on the Middle East, which will start at 10am ET, is part of the Palestinian campaign against President Trump's decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Western diplomats said that in the last two weeks, Abbas was under pressure by several European leaders to end his boycott on the U.S. and re-engage with the Trump administration. Abbas was also advised by European leaders to use his speech at the UN today for presenting a Palestinian peace plan and readiness to renew negotiations with Israel.

White House spokesperson Josh Raffel confirmed Kushner and Greenblatt's attendance at Abbas' speech and said:

“As we continue to finalize our plan, we came to the United Nations to hear President Abbas’ speech. We strongly hope that he shares fresh and constructive ideas that can create a comprehensive and lasting peace for both sides because merely recycling the same talking points has not led to peace for decades."

A White House official also told me the administration believes that Greenblatt’s most recent trip to the region reaffirmed the central and integral role of the U.S. in peace efforts.

"It is what we heard from key players across the Middle East, Europe and Asia," the official added.

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Sports

The cost of kids losing gym class

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With a growing number of schools opting for online-only classes this fall to limit the spread of COVID-19, physical education will be severely limited, if not suspended altogether.

Why it matters: While classroom-based learning can be done virtually, it's nearly impossible to replicate physical education — which plays a crucial role in kids' physical and mental health — through a screen. And with sports on hold in most states, PE is the only physical activity outlet some kids have.

3 mins ago - Health

How to do smarter coronavirus testing

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With testing once again a huge vulnerability to America’s coronavirus response, public health officials are calling for a revamped strategy that features the use of more tests, even if they're imperfect.

Why it matters: The system is overwhelmed by the demand for tests, and yet prolific testing is key to identifying asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic coronavirus cases. Experts say the solution is smarter testing — which doesn't require perfect accuracy.

Updated 24 mins ago - World

China announces retaliatory sanctions on Rubio, Cruz and other U.S. officials

Photos: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry announced Monday that it's imposing sanctions on Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with nine other Americans, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: It's a direct response to similar actions by the U.S. that included the Trump administration placing sanctions on officials Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last Friday over Beijing's encroachment of the Asian financial hub's s autonomy.