What happened

The United Nations said it was halting aid shipments to Gaza after a relief truck driver was killed by Israeli tank fire. (AP in Google News) Officials from Israel and Egypt planned to launch negotiations for a cease-fire to end Israel's 12-day offensive, which aims to stop rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. (Financial Times)

What the commentators said

“I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided,” said former president Jimmy Carter in The Washington Post. Months ago, Hamas agreed to stop firing rockets into Israel if the Israeli government would permit a normal flow of humanitarian supplies into Gaza. But the flow of food, medicine, and fuel was never fully restored, and the “fragile truce” collapsed.

Cease-fires with Hamas always result in disaster, said Marvin Hier in The Wall Street Journal. The pattern is always the same: The world sends money to help the Palestinians recover from an Israeli attack, and Hamas, “the same terrorist group that brought disaster to the Palestinians in the first place,” uses the money to rearm and inflict greater damage than before.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, said Rosa Brooks in the Los Angeles Times. The Palestinians make peace impossible by targeting civilians and refusing to recognize Israel; the trigger-happy are usually the ones to end lulls in the violence; and the Bush administration wrings its hands but blocks a U.N. Security Council demand for a cease-fire on the grounds that it offers no long-term solution. And Palestinians whose only mistake was being born in Gaza pay the price.