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Forecast podcast: Gaza ceasefire talks continue as bloody conflict enters eighth month

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Editors Jimmy Lovaas and Agnese Boffano discuss ceasefire negotiations on the war in Gaza, plus more on a Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland, new rules from China’s coast guard, Boeing’s CEO testifying in a U.S. Senate hearing and a doctors’ strike in South Korea.

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This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Agnese Boffano, James Morgan, Hua Hsieh, Alex Moore and Vivian Wang. Produced and edited by Jimmy Lovaas. Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe.

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Factal Forecast podcast transcript

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.


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 June 13.

In this week’s forecast we’ve got ceasefire negotiations on the war in Gaza, a Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland, new rules from China’s coast guard, Boeing’s CEO testifying in a U.S. Senate hearing and a doctors’ strike in South Korea.

You can also read about these stories and more in our weekly newsletter, which you’ll find a link to in the show notes.

Israel-Hamas ceasefire negotiations

Information compiled by Agnese Boffano

JIMMY: Up first, we’ll take a look at the Gaza war ceasefire negotiations. For more on that I’ve got fellow Factal editor Agnese Boffano.

JIMMY: Hello, Agnese.

AGNESE: Hey, Jimmy. 

JIMMY: Well, Agnese, you were here just about a month ago and we talked about Rafah, but it looks like there’s been some new news this week on ceasefire negotiations in Gaza. So, what’s going on with the talks?

AGNESE: Yeah, there’s been numerous stages of talks between Israel and Hamas over that past few months, but you’re right, the latest indication of at least a possible end to arms in the Gaza Strip was – it began earlier in the month when US President Joe Biden, he presented a three-phase suggestion that would ultimately see a complete end to the fighting. And this has been talked over by both parties over the coming weeks until most recently, on Monday, the UN Security Council voted to adopt a resolution that endorsed this US-proposed ceasefire deal, and so since then there’s continued back-and-forth reports from both parties but nothing concrete as of yet.

JIMMY: Well what’s the latest? Are there any new developments?

AGNESE: Yeah, I think there are two events which happened over the weekend just as the ceasefire talks are in its most intense phase, that I think could have an effect on whether or not we will see a ceasefire in the coming weeks. So the first one happened on Saturday, when it was an Israeli military unit that infiltrated central areas of the Gaza Strip – and this was in conjunction with dozens of airstrikes and artillery shells – in what was later to be known as a surprise offensive. Its goal, as I’m sure we’ve all seen by now, was to retrieve four hostages that were kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7. And the operation ended with some casualties on the Israeli side but it did end with the rescue – the safe rescue – of four of the hostages, four among the more than 100, you know, who are still believed to be held in Gaza today. But the operation also ended killing more than 270 Palestinians, according to the health sources there. Many of whom were children, you know. We’re seeing this again. Entire residential areas, this time around Nuseirat Camp, was reduced to rubble and health officials in one of the very few, kind of, semi-functional hospitals near the scene were describing incredibly horrific cases. The second event happened more on a national Israeli level. So, a member of the war cabinet, Benny Gantz, he resigned on Sunday and although this doesn’t necessarily affect Prime Minister Netanyahu just yet as his coalition still retains a majority in the Knesset, or the Israeli parliament, it does mean that the government’s war effort will probably retain more influence from the coalition’s right-wing party members who are and have been historically more opposed to a ceasefire point so it definitely could have an effect on the Israeli political side of the talks.

JIMMY: Well what sort of reactions to the ceasefire proposal have you seen?

AGNESE: Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, actually arrived in the region yesterday on his eighth visit since Oct. 7 and he commented on the negotiations and he talked a little bit about the reactions that both parties have kind of had on the ceasefire agreement. Blinken seems to have suggested at least that the US-proposed deal was widely accepted by Israel, but Hamas has come back with some amendments. And although the US official did not specify what the as he described “workable and non-workable” amendments were to the ceasefire, Hamas has been quite adamant on there being clauses about the full withdrawal of the Israeli military from the Gaza Strip and also Hamas wants to see assurances that there will be a full end, a complete end, to the fighting. Israel has not agreed to this full withdrawal clause, and in fact it continues to demand to retain control of the land that has been seizing over the past few months of operations including as well the Palestinian side of the Philadelphi corridor and Rafah crossing with Egypt that it continues to control. And if anything, Netanyahu has used the hostage operation over the weekend to really pump out government lines that Hamas will only release hostages through the use of military pressure. So when you have that kind of rhetoric going on, you know, it’s difficult to see how the Israeli side can have any positive reactions to the ceasefire. 

JIMMY: Well, considering all that, what do you think folks should be watching for next?

AGNESE: So firstly, with regards to the Israeli political aspect of things, I think with Benny Gantz leaving the government, people should definitely watch for anti-government protests to resume considerably as Israelis switch even further than before, you know, from supporting the war effort in the Gaza Strip to at least a push for political negotiations instead to get the hostages out. But ultimately what we should be on the lookout for is for any indication really that we’re getting closer to a deal, or at least, you know, for both sides to be more clear about their position in the talks. But realistically, both sides continue to be very entrenched in their specific shortcomings and, you know, all this despite assurances that the deal still is very much on the table and that talks are ongoing. Blinken mentioned yesterday that the US does want to see a longer plan from both sides on what a post-war Gaza will look like, but it appears as though both sides lack a concrete longer term plan. Hamas, on one side, doesn’t propose a viable solution to the question of a Palestinian state just like Israel’s vague military objective of eradicating Hamas is not viable, and questions are continually asked as to whether it’s even possible to envision Hamas being removed, you know, completely as a political entity. So if both sides have no goals or have unclear goals as their sole indicator as to whether they agree to a ceasefire or not, it becomes unlikely that it will come into fruition. Because at the end of the day, even though you and I Jimmy who monitor the news every day might come across videos and footage from Gaza that even Blinken himself during the visit said would push anyone to want to reach a ceasefire agreement, you know, this isn’t shown as much within Israel itself and it means that at least for now the government opinion is to see a continuation of the war front. And Hamas has been steadfast with their position, so with the threat of early elections for Netanyahu, we’ll have to see if he can survive this political turmoil and perhaps pressure to accept a ceasefire.

JIMMY: Well, Agnese, we’ve got to pause there for today, but as always, thank you so much for getting us caught up. Always appreciate your insight into the region.

AGNESE: Thanks, Jimmy.

Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland

Information compiled by James Morgan

JIMMY: Over 100 countries and organizations will attend a summit beginning Friday in Switzerland. It’s part of the latest push for peace in Ukraine. 

Of course, Russia wasn’t invited and China has yet to confirm attendance, so there are some doubts over what the event can realistically achieve.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused both Russia and China of attempts to disrupt the summit, claiming Russia has threatened multiple countries with a blockade on food, agricultural and chemical products in an effort to dissuade them from attending. 

Russia also openly called on countries to not attend the event, claiming its purpose is to “develop and present to Russia an unacceptable ultimatum.” 

Ukraine is expected to put forward three points from its 2022 Peace Formula that will form the basis for discussion, including nuclear safety, food security and the return of prisoners and children abducted by Russia.

Now, the summit is likely to galvanize western support for Ukraine and may also draw the backing of other countries at the summit. 

While Moscow is likely to reject a new draft peace proposal, it may provide the foundations for discussions in the future. A new proposal may also increase international pressure on Russia to return to the negotiations table with its own plans.

China coast guard rules go into effect

Information compiled by Hua Hsieh

JIMMY: A new order by China’s coast guard will go into effect Saturday. It allows personnel to detain foreign vessels and people suspected of “trespassing” in Beijing-claimed waters for up to 60 days. 

China claims a large portion of the South China Sea demarcated by its so-called “nine-dash line”, including the disputed Scarborough Shoal, Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands. 

And while the new coast guard order does not specifically mention the South China Sea, analysts warn the move could provoke further flare ups in the region. 

Tension has continued to rise in the waterway of late, with the Philippines using civilian missions to supply food and fuel to its fishermen and Chinese ships firing water cannons at Philippines vessels.

Now, Experts say the latest move is part of China’s “gray zone” strategy, which aims to create ambiguity and normalize Beijing’s presence in waters such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. 

Philippine President Ferinand Marcos Jr said the rules are “worrisome” and that the Philippines will use “any point of contact with China” to protect its fishermen.

Boeing CEO testifies before US Senate panel

Information compiled by Alex Moore

JIMMY: The chief executive of American aerospace giant Boeing will testify before a Senate panel Tuesday.

CEO Dave Calhoun is expected to address a string of safety issues this year with Boeing civilian aircraft, the most notable of which involved a cabin door blowing off of a 737 MAX during flight, prompting the FAA to ground the plane

The 737 MAX issues, however, extend back to 2018 and 2019, when two crashes in the span of a few months due to faulty automated maneuvering features killed 346 people and prompted a worldwide grounding of the airplane.

Now, Calhoun has already announced his intention to step down by the end of the year as part of a board shakeup that investors hope will fix Boeing’s quality control and production woes. 

While the company once dominated the commercial airplane market, it has continued to lose market share to France-based Airbus, and Boeing’s next CEO will face the crucial decision regarding whether or not to produce a new aircraft.

South Korean doctors’ strike

Information compiled by Vivian Wang

JIMMY: South Korea’s largest lobby group for doctors intends to launch a full-scale strike Tuesday.

It’s an escalation in the months-long protests by doctors against government plans to significantly increase medical school admissions.

South Korea’s government has long been planning to boost the country’s number of medical students and doctors and seems poised to do so after a court recently ruled in their favor

Thousands of trainee doctors in South Korea walked off the job in February in protest, and many have remained on strike since then, impacting some major hospitals where they make up a considerable percentage of the medical staff. 

Now, emergency rooms and intensive care units will remain in operation, but the strike organizers said more than 70 percent of its 140,000 members will participate in the walkout and a mass rally on Tuesday. 

That will leave a major vacuum in medical services for South Korea. 

Finally, the government continues to threaten license suspensions for doctors who refuse to treat patients as part of the strike

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 James Morgan, Hua Hsieh, Alex Moore and Vivian Wang. Our interview featured editor Agnese Boffano and our podcast is 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

This transcript may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability not guaranteed. 

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Music: ‘Factal Theme’ courtesy of Andrew Gospe