Today's Blogs

Welcome to Fatahland

Bloggers dissect the weekend’s developments in Gaza, celebrate Mike Nifong’s disbarment, and wonder why online sales are lagging.

Welcome to Fatahland: The United States and the European Union will resume aid to the Palestinian Authority now that Hamas is no longer included in President Mahmoud Abbas’ government. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that the United States would supply aid to Gaza through the United Nations.

Some bloggers file dispatches from on-the-ground. At Conflict Blotter, Jerusalem-based journalist Charles Levinson tracks the latest developments near the northern Erez border crossing into Israel: “Hamas has moved to restore law and order in Gaza, including putting traffic cops at busy intersections to direct traffic. We passed a particularly tough looking bearded militant-turned-traffic cop and I couldn’t help but reflect on how dreary governing must now seem to a lot of these guys. To go from masked, gun-toting, rebel militant to whistle blowing traffic cop doesn’t seem like a very thrilling step up to me.” Levinson also has a helpful timeline of the conflict. At Tabula Gaza, Philip Rizk, an Egyptian-German Christian living in Gaza, examines the confusion emerging at this split:  “My neighbor Mohamed is a police officer and responsible for security at the AlAqsa University in Gaza City. His superiors in the West Bank have informed him he is to remain home and will continue to receive his monthly salary. In return local Hamas authorities have informed the police force that they will be dismissed from the police if they do not appear for work.”

The liberal at Murrikan Dreams views the aid as the latest example of American hypocrisy in the region: “Only now that our good democrat, Mahmoud Abbas, has sworn in an illegitmate and non-representative parliament with no Hamas members … and has called for an international force to take charge of Gaza, is the U.S. finally planning to end the Palestinian embargo, in an attempt to further bolster Fatah forces. As per usual, beating and starving the Palestinians into submission in order to force them to choose leaders that we like, appears to be the tactic of choice.”

At Israpundit, Jerry Gordon considers the implications of American and European aid returning to the Palestinian Authority: “Given the corruption that has long been endemic, how do we know that money going to Mr. Abbas will be usefully spent? How do we know it won’t ‘trickle down’ to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — a terrorist arm of Mr. Abbas’s Fatah that has worked with Tehran and its allies in the past and remains one of the dominant terrorist gangs in the Abbas-controlled West Bank? It’s time for some serious congressional oversight hearings about the continued usefulness of U.S. assistance to Mr. Abbas.”

At the National Review’s Corner, Jonah Goldberg is full of schadenfreude at the theft Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize over the weekend: “[I]f you were going to make the sort of dark, ironic, film we’ve come to expect from Hollywood when it comes to the idea of American empire and all that (think Syriana, the Good Shepherd et al.) about the Israel-Palestinian ‘peace process’ you’d have to end it with the scene of Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize being looted from his compound by murderous Palestinian goons.”

Read more about the latest developments in Palestine.

Dishonorably disbarred: Durham County Prosecutor Mike Nifong was disbarred Saturday by a North Carolina ethics panel. Nifong, who resigned on the stand Friday, could still face criminal or civil lawsuits for his actions in bringing rape charges—later dropped with much fanfare—against three Duke lacrosse players.

South Carolinian Xsociate at State of the Day is pleased: “To me, it was just another instance of an overzealous prosecutor with political aspirations looking to make a name for himself. … Let this be a lesson of the consequences when one sets out to mix politics and governance.” At Durham in Wonderland, KC Johnson, one of the most dogged followers of the case, lauded the chairman of the Disciplinary Hearings Commission, Lane Williamson: “Williamson made clear that even though Nifong, in his testimony, had described Crystal Mangum as the “victim” no fewer than eight times, “the victims are the three young men to start with, their families, the entire lacrosse team and their coach”—all the way up to the justice system itself.”

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters considers Nifong’s future. “His resignation and acceptance of the Bar’s punishment might convince a court to keep from sentencing him to prison for his actions, and that has to be what Nifong hopes to accomplish. However, the court should take into account the destruction of trust in the criminal justice system that Nifong has wrought. The impact of his actions under color of authority at least equal that of which Scooter Libby is accused, and the remedy should be similar,” he writes.

Read more about Nifong’s fate.

Analog shopping in the digital age?: The era of breakneck growth in online sales is coming to a close, the New York Times reported Sunday. Part of this is because of innovations among “bricks-and-mortar” establishments drawing customers back, the article finds.

“In the Panglossian end of the day, what we just might have will be the best of all possible worlds - a lively marketplace, some online and some brick-and-mortar, with the digital driving traffic to the thing people want the most: a real, human interaction that results in the purchase of something they can take home and eat, read, plug in, watch or listen to,” writesFortune columnist Stanley Bing at Bing Blog.

“Technologist” Chip Griffin is unsurprised: “[G]rowth rates must necessarily slow, lest brick and mortar sales cease altogether.  No industry can sustain astronomical growth rates forever,” he writes.

Read more about the future of online shopping. Jack Shafer debunks  the Times piece in Slate.