Yesterday, a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Palestine was broken when Hamas fired rockets into southern Israel from the Gaza strip, causing Israel to fire back into Gaza, killing at least 225 people.  Hamas is now promising a third intifada in response to Israel’s strike, guaranteeing that more violence is to come.

Sadly, this is the same pattern we’ve seen time and time again in the Israel-Palestine conflict:  Hamas strikes Israel, Israel responds with disproportionate force, Hamas uses Israel’s response to justify more attacks, Israel uses those new attacks to justify using more force against the Palestinians, etc.

Both sides are blaming the other for the current conflict, and the truth is they both deserve some blame.  Hamas blames Israel for using disproportionate force; Israel blames Hamas for attacking southern Israel in the first place; Hamas blames Israel for erecting checkpoints around Gaza preventing the movement of people and supplies in and out of Gaza; Israel blames Hamas for violence that led to the establishment of those checkpoints, so on and so fourth.

There is no use playing the blame game here.  Both sides are culpable for what’s happening, and trying to decide who is more responsible is a waste of time.  All parties should agree to a ceasefire and everyone–including the U.S.–should work together and sort out where this goes from here. Stopping the violence right now is a good way to stop more violence in the future.

The Obama administration needs to make the Israel-Palestine conflict a top priority, because the Israel-Palestine conflict is the beating heart of the war on terrorism; it is a major source of the ideological poison–the hatred for the west and the military force that defends the western way of life–that fuels radical Islam.