When President Barack Obama made his first symbolic gesture to the Middle East in Cairo, one of his main talking points was that resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue was not only important for the Middle East, but also vital for the national security concerns of the United States.

The president understood that instability in that region will continue to stifle the growth of economies of scale, trade and energy production. Most importantly of all, that instability has allowed for a deep hatred for the West to fester, giving good reason for the millions of youth in the Middle East to join the terrorist cause. Extending an olive branch was the smartest thing that the United States could have ever done.

We need to recognize the significance the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has for Muslims around the world and how this conflict inhibits our own ability to combat terrorist networks. The main problem is that the ongoing conflict generates overzealous sympathy for al-Qaida’s agenda among many Muslims torn by conflicting impulses. In other words, al-Qaida’s strategic interest will be advanced by a perpetual continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It may seem very naïve to attempt to fix the unfixable. It would also be easier to be cynical and pessimistic when faced with such a daunting task. Yet, it is vital to break this cycle of destruction and intolerance to alter the mindset of people so set in their ways. A just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, but it calls for a radical departure.

It is beyond me to be able to understand how a parent can teach their children to hate with such blind passion, when they claim to be such a pious people. If a child is taught to hate even before it learns to reason, then that is a child that has been permanently damaged. If we remain cynical and pessimistic, then this vicious cycle will live on forever and the terrorist threat will only continue to mushroom in size. We must put a stop to the insanity and look for a two-state solution.

If we should shift the great wall Israel built on the Gaza Strip right into the heart of Jerusalem, splitting the holy city right down the down the middle for Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, then I would be all for it.

“Do you want to continue to be Fortress Israel?” King Abdullah of Jordan asked in a rare recent interview. “What a dismal place that would be.”

George W. Bush never understood that. In his immature cowboy bravado, he always catered to his emotions and wanted to do such things as “smoke them out” of their caves. This type of attitude is the most dangerous of all because it not only fans the flames, but leaves us no tangible results either. Overzealous fanatics can be found on both sides of the equation.

Inside the Islamic world there is a major threat by a group of extremists that are pretending to be pious Muslims, killing innocent people at will and in the name of God only to desecrate the holy name of Islam itself in the very process.

“You’re always going to have extremists in every religion and you’re never going to be able to get rid of terrorism because there’s always going to evil in the world,” Abdullah said. These people, who call themselves Muslims, are actually the minority and it is unacceptable to allow them to hijack religion. In the end, as Abdullah said, all that is needed “for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”