Editors Jimmy Lovaas and Agnese Boffano discuss Israel's deadly raid on the northern West Bank town of Jenin, plus more on United Nations' deep sea mining permits, an important deadline for Venezuela’s opposition primaries, President Biden meeting with King Charles at Windsor Castle and a NATO summit in Lithuania.
Subscribe to the show: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more.
These stories and others are also available in our free weekly Forecast newsletter.
This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Agnese Boffano, Hua Hsieh, Irene Villora, Jeff Landset and Alex Moore. Produced and edited by Jimmy Lovaas. Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe.
Have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed? Drop us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
What's Factal? Created by the founders of Breaking News, Factal alerts companies to global incidents that pose an immediate risk to their people or business operations. We provide trusted verification, precise incident mapping and a collaboration platform for corporate security, travel safety and emergency management teams.
Read the full episode description and transcript on Factal's blog.
Copyright © 2023 Factal. All rights reserved.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
JIMMY LOVAAS, HOST:
Welcome to the Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories and what they mean from the editors at Factal. I’m Jimmy Lovaas.
Today is July 6.
In this week’s forecast we’ve got a look at Israel’s deadly raid in the West Bank, U.N. deep sea mining permits, an important deadline for Venezuela’s opposition primaries, President Biden meeting with King Charles at Windsor Castle and a NATO summit in Lithuania.
You can also read about these stories and more in our weekly newsletter, which you can find a link to in the show notes.
Deadly Israeli raid in Jenin, West Bank
Information compiled by Agnese Boffano
JIMMY: Up first, we’ll take a look at the recent violence in the West Bank. For more on that I’ve got Factal Editor Agnese Boffano.
JIMMY: Hello, Agnese.
AGNESE: Hey, Jimmy.
JIMMY: Well, Agnese, a lot of big news coming out of the West Bank this week. What can you tell us about this big raid in Jenin?
AGNESE: Yeah, it's definitely been a busy week in the West Bank. So, Jimmy, I hope you can bear with me while I go back a little bit. So, about Monday morning, we got first reports that the Israeli military was operating and attempting to enter the Palestinian camp of Jenin in the northern West Bank at about 1 a.m. Jerusalem time. But while raids, and especially early morning raids like this one, have become a regular occurrence not only in Jenin but across several major West Bank cities, this one was exceptional because for only the second time since the Second Intifada in 2005, and also the second time in the last couple of weeks, Israel carried out airstrikes before sending in ground forces. Israel said that this was because it was targeting a building being used by militants to plan attacks. And shortly after that, Palestinians responded by engaging in shootouts and planted explosive devices along the roads leading to the camp, and the entrances as well, which damaged some military vehicles and drones. And throughout the military operation we saw footage of Israeli forces entering and then seizing what looks like an underground facility, reportedly under a mosque in the camp, which it claimed was being used as a weapons facility. We also saw videos of explosions and shootouts near hospitals. We saw footage of tear gas fired at people fleeing the camp, you know, residents ducking from apparent sniper fire; it was two days of absolute chaos. And it's important to say that this raid lasted for two whole days. Usually they last about, you know, several hours at most. And ultimately, on Wednesday morning, Israel said that they were retreating the camp after having completed their operation, they said. It also said that it had carried out 15 air raids using helicopter gunships and drones and they said this operation involved about 1000 elite special forces. So this was a massive, massive operation. And at the end, also, the death toll among Palestinians was 12 people with more than 100 others injured and an Israeli soldier was also killed, but at the moment it's being investigated whether this was due to friendly fire.
JIMMY: How about now? Where do things stand at the moment? What's the latest?
AGNESE: So the latest, I want to go back just a little bit and I say that while Israeli forces were still operating in Jenin – this was a another element that happened shortly after – we also had a car ramming and stabbing attack in northern Tel Aviv where a Palestinian resident of Hebron in the southern West Bank, he drove a car into a crowd and this resulted in about eight people injured before he was shot dead by an armed civilian. Hamas said that he was a member of the group and called the attack a natural response to the events in Jenin. So that's the latest in Israel. Overnight on Tuesday, with regards to Gaza, Israel also targeted several sites where Palestinian armed factions operate in the Gaza Strip. This was in Beit Lahiya in the north and also southwest of Gaza City, but this caused material damage only and it didn't result in any casualties. They said that this was in response to not only Jenin, but about five rockets fired earlier also from the Strip. The latest, you ask, when it comes to Jenin, so on Wednesday, as I said, after the troops retreated, people began coming back to the camp and assessing the damage that was left behind as a result of the raid. And I don't want to – I don't want to throw in too many abstract numbers, but we're talking about an extremely densely populated area, this Jenin refugee camp, so it's very small, and the Red Cross called the humanitarian situation during the raid, but afterwards, very alarming, because not only did we see about 3,000 residents fleeing the camp during the fighting, but, you know, electricity and water infrastructure was heavily damaged to the point where they are no longer functioning in the camp anymore. And officials in Jenin actually said that about 80 percent of homes in the Jenin refugee camp were targeted in the raid.
JIMMY: What have reactions to this new violence been like?
AGNESE: I think for the most part we can say that the US, the UN and, you know, most western actors, continue to reiterate Israel's line that it has the right to self defense, but throughout the raid they did make consistent comments about using restraint. So that has been kind of the international reaction. Israel has also faced a lot of criticism this time round, as it has in the past, for fatally shooting several underage boys in this operation. Several of the 12 Palestinians were, you know, teenagers. And on top of that, the Red Cross [and] the WHO have also condemned the targeting of several medical facilities during the operation. Now, domestically, the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas has -- he's cut security coordination with Israel even though in essence, you know, this doesn't really necessarily change much on the ground. When it comes to Gaza, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have both condemned the raid, of course, and also Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that eight of the group's fighters from the Al Quds brigades, which is the armed wing of the group, were among those killed.
JIMMY: Well, the question everyone wants the answer to, but no one wants to answer: What's next? What should folks be watching for?
AGNESE: We can definitely expect some sort of further escalation as we do after such deadly raids. And, you know, I can't tell you whether it be around Gaza or further attacks in Israel or further deadly raids in the West Bank. Tensions are definitely still high and the rhetoric on both sides is still very, very much heated, so all of those scenarios are definitely a possibility. I think one particular thing to watch for next is some protests within Israel itself among the Arab population, but also some protests within the West Bank targeting the Palestinian Authority. I mentioned Abbas briefly before, but you know, Jimmy, Palestinians are angry at the PA and at Abbas for what they say is their inability to protect the Palestinian people from the Israeli military and even accused them of facilitating and cooperating with the forces during such raids. We saw several PA officials getting kicked out of the funeral that was held on Wednesday for the Palestinians killed in Jenin and a governor's home was also hit by stones thrown by protesters earlier this week. So that's also another important aspect of the conflict that really shows how it's not just, you know, Israelis versus Palestinians, as is usually being portrayed, but really a complex situation that, unfortunately, is being aggravated further by the use of such deadly weaponry and large scale operations like we saw this week in Jenin. But what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said is that, you know, this instance in Jenin was not likely to be a one-off, he said, but the beginning of regular incursions and continuous control of the territory. So that's definitely something that is going to happen in the near future and as long as we have this right-wing coalition in government in Israel.
JIMMY: Well, Agnese, we'll pause there for now, but I suspect we'll have you back in the future as things continue to unfold. Thanks so much for the update.
AGNESE: Thank you, Jimmy.
JIMMY: Take care.
UN to start taking deep-sea mining applications
Information compiled by Hua Hsieh
JIMMY: The International Seabed Authority is going to start taking applications for deep sea mining permits starting Sunday. That comes after a series of negotiations in May.
Of course, deep sea mining has long been a controversial issue.
While the seabed, particularly in the North Pacific Ocean, possess huge amounts of rocks that contain essential minerals for making batteries, extracting these minerals from up to 4 miles under the ocean floor is seen as potentially harmful to aquatic ecosystems.
In 2021, the island nation of Nauru, which claimed that deep-sea mining is more sustainable than traditional mining, filed a motion for the United Nations to set regulations on the practice.
Debates have since heated up over the potential environmental impact of the activity, with many raising concern over the lack of scientific data on the deep sea.
Now, while the deep sea is relatively under-explored, scientists and environmental groups have warned that noise, vibration and light pollution, as well as possible leaks of chemicals in the mining process might damage the ecosystem and have a negative impact on biodiversity.
France, Germany and some Pacific Island nations have officially called for a moratorium on deep sea mining, while others contemplate opening up their waters.
Deadline for Venezuelans abroad to register to vote in opposition primaries
Information compiled by Irene Villora
JIMMY: Venezuelan nationals living abroad will be able to register to vote in the opposition’s primaries until Sunday.
The primaries are part of the lead up to the country’s presidential elections in 2024
Venezuela’s National Primaries Commission extended the deadline to Sunday amid low registration numbers at the end of June among nationals who have left the country, which amounts to almost 5 million potential voters.
The opposition’s primaries will take place on Oct. 22 and comes following years of internal divisions among the parties forming the coalition against the officialist Chavista movement.
Now, the Venezuelan opposition hopes to choose a strong candidate to face President Nicolás Maduro in next year’s election.
Among more than a dozen options, are some high-level profiles including former Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles.
The primaries will be organized with private funds and independently from the country’s official electoral body.
One of the main favorites to represent the opposition in the presidential race, Maria Corina Machado, was banned from holding public office for 15 years, just this June.
That, after the comptroller’s office reviewed and extended a previous disqualification sentence dating back to 2015, a move that has been criticized by the United States.
King Charles to meet Biden at Windsor Castle
Information compiled by Jeff Landset
JIMMY: U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with King Charles on Monday. It will be their first meeting since the coronation
The White House announced on Sunday that Biden would travel to Lithuania for a NATO Summit, then a U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit in Finland. But his first stop will be to Windsor Castle in England, where he will meet with King Charles and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
This will be Biden’s second meeting with Sunak in a month, after the two announced a “first-of-its-kind” economic partnership called the Atlantic Declaration in early June.
Biden has now spoken with representatives of the U.K. several times during his presidency while also celebrating Ireland as part of his heritage.
Now, during his time in office, Biden has made it a priority to reestablish U.S. alliances on the worldwide stage.
That includes the United States’ relationship with the United Kingdom – a relationship both parties have described as “close” and “strong.”
Over the past few months, both nations have presented a united front on several issues, most notably Ukraine.
A closer relationship may also eventually lead to a U.K.-U.S. trade pact, although a much more narrow one than what has been talked about since Brexit.
NATO summit in Lithuania
Information compiled by Alex Moore
JIMMY: NATO leaders will meet for a two-day summit in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius starting Tuesday.
U.S. President Joe Biden will be in attendance.
The summit coincides with Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine surpassing its 500th day.
Accordingly, the war promises to feature heavily in alliance discussions as Ukraine’s counteroffensive enters its second month.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has issued calls ahead of the summit for clearer signals from the alliance regarding Kyiv’s path to alliance membership after the conclusion of the war.
He’s also called for more concrete security guarantees as the war continues.
Now, leaders are expected to discuss Ukraine’s grinding counteroffensive targeting Russian-occupied territory in the south.
While it remains unclear the extent to which Kyiv has unleashed brigades trained and equipped by NATO countries for the purposes of this operation, progress has been slow.
That, as Ukraine deals with multiple layers of heavily fortified Russian positions built out over more than a year of occupation.
Of course, with high-profile losses of western-supplied armor already taken and more sure to come, NATO leaders will likely discuss how best to assist Kyiv’s efforts to breach Russian defenses with western armor.
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s stunning aborted mutiny against Russia’s defense ministry will also likely factor given his exile to Belarus alongside his loyal contingent of fighters.
Poland has already announced plans to bolster security along its Belarusian border in the wake of Wagner’s relocation.
JIMMY: As always, thank you for listening to the Factal Forecast. We publish our forward-looking podcast and newsletter each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead. Please subscribe and review wherever you find your podcasts. We’d love it if you’d consider telling a friend about us.
Today’s episode was produced with work from Factal editors Hua Hsieh, Irene Villora, Jeff Landset and Alex Moore. Our interview featured editor Agnese Boffano and this podcast was produced and edited by me – Jimmy Lovaas. Our music comes courtesy of Andrew Gospe.
Until next time, if you have any feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed, drop us a note by emailing email@example.com
This transcript may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability not guaranteed.
Copyright © 2023 Factal. All rights reserved.
Music: 'Factal Theme' courtesy of Andrew Gospe