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Posts by Yishai Schwartz

Yishai Schwartz is an associate editor at Lawfare. Before the late unpleasantness at the New Republic, he was a reporter-researcher at that magazine. He previously was a fellow with the Tikvah Fund and an intern at Lawfare, which welcomed him back after his New Republic stint under a little-noticed refugee program. Follow him @yishaischwartz

After Bibi’s Reelection: Why a Pivot to the UNSC is Still a Mistake (Part 1: Settlements)

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Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 2:45 PM

As the White House continues to direct a cascade of criticism at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, some commenters are beginning to ask whether the ongoing verbal offensive serves any strategic purpose. More are already theorizing about what precisely the President and his staff mean when they announce they are “reassessing” or “reevaluating” their policies . . .
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The Middle East Ticker

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 3:30 PM

With support of 67 parliamentarians, Netanyahu set to begin forming a government: Benjamin Netanyahu’s big election victory just got more official, with the leadership of parties representing a majority of the Knesset formally recommending that Israel’s President Ruby Rivlin task Netanyahu with the formation of a government. Most analysts believe Netanyahu will form a narrow . . .
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Netanyahu’s Latest “Reversal” on Palestinian Statehood

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Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 6:26 PM

Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, and explained that he hadn’t changed his policy on the creation of a Palestinian state. “I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution,” he insisted. For the second time in three days, the American media went into . . .
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Two Further Notes on the NPT and Iranian Legal Arguments

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 8:59 AM

As Iran and the P5+1 edge ever closer to an agreement, the public is beginning to get a peek at the general contours of the potential deal. Many of the details—careful pencil calculations about numbers of centrifuges, degrees of uranium enrichment and breakout time—require so much specialized knowledge that it is difficult for non-experts to . . .
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On Bibi’s “Reversal” Concerning Palestinian Statehood

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 10:00 AM

On Tuesday afternoon, American media burst into an uproar at the news that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had apparently “revers[ed] his support for a two-solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The New York Times even sent out a midday news alert to subscribers’ phones.  The idea that Netanyahu would change positions on such a central an issue . . .
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The Day After the Iran Deal Ends

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Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 3:59 PM

Last week, before a largely adoring crowd at a joint session of Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unleased a fusillade against the administration’s potential Iran deal. At the center of his critique was the argument that “virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.” According to Netanyahu, the . . .
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The Middle East Ticker

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 4:35 PM

Despite a vote to end security cooperation with Israel, PA crackdown on Hamas continues: Last week, the Central Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization voted to end security cooperation with Israel to protest Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenue. (Under Oslo-era arrangements, Israel collects Palestinian tax revenue and then transfers it to the Palestinian Authority. . . .
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The Middle East Ticker

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 5:44 PM

Qatar is reportedly pushing Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official arm in Syria, to break away from Al Qaeda and form an independent entity that would also include some smaller jihadi groups such as Jaish al-Muhajirin wal-Ansar and others. The action would remove the legal obstacles preventing Qatar from supporting the group, which has been sanctioned by . . .
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Of Torts, Diplomacy, Israelis and Palestinians

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Friday, February 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM

On Monday, a New York jury found the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Authority responsible for a series of terror attacks that killed and maimed American citizens in Israel from 2002 through 2004. The politically-fraught civil judgment in Sokolow vs PLO awards the victims an initial $218.5 million (a sum that may still be . . .
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The Middle East Ticker

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 10:45 AM

Editor’s note: Below, we offer our latest roundup of Lawfare-relevant items from the Middle East and North Africa. As we noted last week, this feature will appear occasionally and is modeled on Paul Rosenzweig’s  “Bits and Bytes” series regarding cyber matters. Our goal will be to keep readers informed of legally inflected stories they might have . . .
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Yesterday at the Military Commissions: the 9/11 Case

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Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 2:28 PM

As readers likely know, earlier this week, pre-trial motions in Khalid Sheikh Mohammed et al. hit an unanticipated obstacle when one accused, Ramzi Binalshibh, indicated that he recognized one of his translators from a past role as an interpreter at a CIA black-site. Given the recent uproar over the revelation that the FBI had been questioning . . .
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The Middle East Ticker

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 12:23 PM

Editor’s Note: As we scale up Lawfare’s coverage of security issues in hot-button regions, we thought we would start rounding up Lawfare-relevant items from the Middle East and North Africa. This feature, which will be occasional, is modeled on the “Bits and Bytes” feature that Paul Rosenzweig has been doing on cyber matters. The goal will be . . .
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On Judge O’Toole’s Stubborn Reluctance To Moving the Boston Bomber Trial

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Jury selection in the trial of  accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has dragged on for over a month. Since January 5, over 150 potential jurors have been questioned, and still the judge proceeds haltingly through a pool filled with preconceptions about Tsarnaev’s guilt and fury at what the bombing’s perpetrators. But despite these challenges, . . .
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Does the Palestinian Turn to the ICC Mandate a Cut-off in Economic Assistance?

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Monday, February 9, 2015 at 1:45 PM

The Palestinian turn to the International Criminal Court has Israel’s supporters fretting over potential prosecutions and international delegitimization. But as a recent letter from 75 senators to Secretary of State John Kerry illustrates, the most immediate repercussions will likely be felt by Palestinians themselves—in the form of an automatic cutoff in American economic assistance. The . . .
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Iran Sanctions 101: A Historical Primer

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Monday, February 2, 2015 at 2:45 PM

Last week, a harsh new set of Iran sanctions legislation sailed through the Senate foreign relations committee by a vote of 18-4. The legislation, written and introduced by Senators Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, is post-dated for June to serve as a sort of Damocles sword,  slapping new restrictions on Iranian industry and closing loopholes . . .
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Neither War Nor Peace: Israel’s Northern Borders

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Friday, January 30, 2015 at 11:49 AM

For now, the recent eruption of violence along the Israeli-Lebanese border appears to be contained. With thousands of its fighters bogged down in Syrian battles, Hezbollah’s strategic context is radically different from 2006, when a carefully planned kidnapping of Israeli soldiers dragged Israel into a bloody war in southern Lebanon.  Most analysts seem convinced that . . .
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The Corker Bill: Sensible Oversight on an Iran Deal

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 8:56 AM

In recent days, the White House has unleashed a full-court press seeking to block a skeptical Congress from passing further Iran sanctions. In his State of the Union, President Obama threatened a presidential veto; at a recent Senate Banking Committee hearing, senior administration officials argued that new sanctions “are more likely to undermine, rather than . . .
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Two Pieces of Spy News

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 5:11 PM

(Another) Russian Spy Ring Busted in New York City Earlier today, the Department of Justice announced charges against a New York-based Russian spy ring. Although three defendants have been charged, only one, Evgeny Buryakov, aka “Zhenya,”  has been arrested.  According to the official complaint, Buryakov worked as an agent of the Russian foreign intelligence agency, . . .
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Netanyahu’s Foolish Speech

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Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 2:59 PM

Yesterday, Speaker John Boehner announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accepted his invitation to address a joint session of Congress. In what reporters are calling “breach of protocol,” the White House appears to have been blindsided, receiving notification only shortly before the news became public. The decision to invite Netanyahu for a speech . . .
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The French Response to Terror: Counterterrorism Detention and Prosecutions Across the Atlantic

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 12:15 PM

In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery, Western European security forces unleashed a dizzying storm of arrests and prosecutions and announced “exceptional” new measures to combat terrorism. In the space of just a few days, dozens of suspects were detained in Belgium, France and Germany, many of whom were questioned for days without . . .
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