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Should the US focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

OWL’S HEAD, Maine — As the Middle East explodes before our eyes, our new Secretary of State John Kerry devotes his time to what, under the circumstances, one can't help but consider yesteryear's problem: finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli nightmare. There's no doubt it remains a serious issue, at the heart of the generations-old instability that the Arab Spring has brought to the surface.

And it would indeed be an incredible boon for the Palestinians and their Arab cousins — and their Jewish cousins as well — to solve this underlying cause for so much of the Arab World's dysfunction.

Nonetheless, Kerry's single-minded concentration on this particular issue is like a home owner focusing all his efforts on renegotiating his old high-rate mortgage when the much more pressing problem is that in recent years his neighborhood has decayed and is now filled with abandoned houses occupied by street gangs.

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