Good morning. We’re covering Israel’s most intense strikes in the occupied West Bank in decades and Janet Yellen’s upcoming trip to China.
A major assault on the West Bank
Israel launched the most intense airstrikes on the occupied West Bank in nearly two decades and sent hundreds of ground troops into the crowded Jenin refugee camp, saying it was trying to root out armed militants after a year of escalating violence there. At least eight Palestinians were killed, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
The Israeli military said the operation began shortly after 1 a.m. and included several missiles fired by drones. Military officials said the operation was focused on militant targets in the refugee camp, an area of less than a quarter of a square mile abutting the city of Jenin, with about 17,000 residents.
On the ground: “The camp is a war zone in the full meaning of the word,” Muhammad Sbaghi, a member of the local committee that helps run the Jenin camp, said after the operation began. He added that residents had feared a large-scale incursion by the Israeli military but had not expected something so violent and destructive.
Deaths: So far, this year has been one of the deadliest in more than a decade for Palestinians in the West Bank, with more than 140 deaths over the past six months. It has also been one of the deadliest for Israelis in some time, with nearly 30 killed in Arab attacks.
What’s next: A former Israeli national security adviser said he expected Israel to wrap up the operation within a few days to try to avoid the spreading of hostilities to other areas, such as Gaza. There are growing fears that the recent tit-for-tat attacks could spiral out of control.
A high-stakes visit to China
Janet Yellen will travel to China this week for the first time as the U.S. Treasury Secretary, in a bid to ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Yellen’s trip, which begins on Thursday, follows Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Beijing last month. In recent weeks Yellen has taken a softer tone on China, and she is expected to make the case that the two countries are too intertwined to “decouple” their economies, despite U.S. actions designed to make it less reliant on China to protect its national security.
“The visit is Yellen’s biggest test of economic diplomacy to date,” said my colleague Alan Rappeport, who covers economic policy.
“The trip is months in the making and comes after President Biden and President Xi agreed last year that they would try to improve the frayed relations between the U.S. and China,” Alan said. “But there are deep differences on a lot of economic policy issues, and Yellen will be working to rebuild trust with her counterparts.”
A technology arms race: Citing national security threats, the U.S. is trying to limit China’s access to semiconductors, A.I. and other sensitive high-end technology. China cited cybersecurity problems when it implemented a ban aimed at Micron Technology, a U.S.-based maker of popular memory chips.
Economic snapshot: The two economies are in a moment of heightened uncertainty. China’s post-pandemic output is flagging, while the U.S. is trying to avoid a recession while containing inflation.
Russia’s surveillance campaign
Russia is incubating a new cottage industry of digital surveillance tools to track its citizens and suppress domestic opposition to the war in Ukraine. Some of the companies are trying to expand operations overseas, raising the risk that the technologies do not remain inside Russia.
The technologies have given Russian authorities access to snooping capabilities focused on phones and websites, including the ability to track activity on encrypted apps like WhatsApp and Signal, identify anonymous social media users and break into people’s accounts, according to documents from Russian surveillance providers obtained by The Times.
The tools can also identify whether someone is using multiple phones and map their relationship network, even if the technology doesn’t intercept their messages.
Analysis: “There has been a concerted effort in Russia to overhaul the country’s internet regulations to more closely resemble China,” an expert in online oppression said. “Russia will emerge as a competitor to Chinese companies.”
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“Tradition is the way we are,” Komara said. “Modern is the way we think.”
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That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Amelia
P.S. For the U.S. holiday, take our quiz about books on American independence.
“The Daily” is on the Supreme Court ruling on gay rights and religious freedom.
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