The Israelis and Palestinians must call an end to the bombing: A ceasefire is necessary in the Middle East

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The duel between the Palestinians in Gaza and Israel has lasted more than a week and claimed the lives of at least 175 Gazans while leaders on both sides have declined to negotiate a ceasefire.

In the meantime, substantial destruction has been wreaked in Gaza, its citizens are in constant terror of being bombed and Israelis across the country, some of whom are protected by the U.S.-origin Iron Dome defense system, are also subject to constant threat from Palestinian-fired rockets from Gaza.

Enough is far more than enough.

The violence began with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers, one of whom has U.S. citizenship, hitchhiking in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. This was followed by the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager, also in Israeli-occupied territory. Last week Israeli authorities arrested and arraigned six Jewish suspects in the killing of the Palestinian youth. The Israelis also arrested hundreds of Palestinians, including some of the leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules in Gaza as they sought the killers of the three Israelis.

This is a situation in which various leaders — of Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — are bringing fire down on the heads of their people, refusing to call a halt to the mayhem and terror, for their own political ends. The leaders all want to look tough.

Egypt and the United States, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, are trying to negotiate a ceasefire between the two parties and late Monday Egypt’s Foreign Ministry proposed a three-point, 12-hour halt in hostilities for both sides to consider.

Even though the United States could get burned if it tried to intervene in this Middle Eastern battle, there is one advantage of U.S. involvement toward securing a ceasefire. That is the Obama administration would have to establish lines of contact to Hamas, which was a key gap in Mr. Kerry’s previous effort to get an accord between the Israelis and Palestinians.

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