To Restart the Mideast Peace Process Try These 'Confidence-Building' Measures

There is much hand wringing about the current 'crisis' in US- Israel relations. And whenever there is talk of renewing the Palestinian-Israel negotiations, the designated US Shuttle diplomat-in charge -- currently George Mitchell -- is sure to opine about "painful decisions" and the need for confidence-building measures (read Israeli concessions) to improve the environment for progress.

So here are a few modest suggestions: *The latest crisis is over the fate of areas captured in Jerusalem by Israel from the Jordanians during the 1967 Six-Day War. The United States should finally recognize Israel's sovereignty over West Jerusalem. That's right, West Jerusalem. My three grandsons, American citizens who were born and live in a neighborhood near Israel's Knesset, have no country listed in their US passports, only the city of birth. Since the Jewish state's founding in 1948, the United States has refused to recognize any part of Jerusalem as part of the sovereign territory of Israel. Hardly a confidence booster for Israelis. *Use the podium of the United Nations Human Rights Council to publicly declare that the United States will veto any move to act on the findings of the notorious Goldstone Report condemning Israel of being guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the audacity of striking back against terrorists in Gaza after 8,000 rockets rained down on southern population centers. The world was told the US was returning the UNHRC to better monitor activities there and speak out against its heavy-handed one-sided condemnations of the Jewish State. Left to fester, the Goldstone Report will continue to be leveraged to punish Israeli officials and soldiers for defending themselves against non-state terrorists, like Hamas. *And speaking of Hamas. Why has the United States gone virtually mute about these perceivably genocidal-waanabees? Since its founding charter, Hamas has been nothing, if not consistent. It feeds its youth in Mosques, on Television and via the Internet, a toxic mix of Islamist fanaticism and rhetoric arguably lifted from the pages of Nazi Germany's finest propaganda. As President Obama pushes hard on Israel, how is the Israeli man-in-the street supposed to interpret the US' total silence after this recent broadside from Hamas' Abdallah Jarbu, Deputy Minister of Religion:

"They want to present themselves to the world as if they have rights, but, in fact, they are foreign bacteria -- a microbe unparalleled in the world. It's not me who says this. The Koran itself says that they have no parallel: "You shall find the strongest men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews." "May He annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience. I condemn whoever believes in normalizing relations with them, whoever supports sitting down with them, and whoever believes that they are human beings. They are not human beings. They are not people. They have no religion, no conscience, and no moral values."

Such genocidal venom is par for the course in Hamastan -- never to be condemned by the Muhammed Abbas-led Palestinian Authority, nor much ever publicly condemned by the U.S., the EU, the Quartet, or G-d forbid, an entity of the United Nations. All this leaves Israelis -- Left, Right, and Center asking themselves these basic questions: So let me get this right. In the name of peace -- who am I supposed to be making peace with? Am I being asked to live with one or two Palestinian states? And why exactly should I be rushing to bring the unbridled hate of such neighbors ever closer to my kids? President Obama, the man who promised change, who went Cairo, should personally take a leadership role in dousing the Hate. A little tough love to the Palestinians is long overdue. Yes, such demands could prove quite discomfiting, even painful for the Palestinian side. But isn't about time they were asked to walk an extra kilometer for peace?