When they learn about it, which is not always the case, Americans tend to care about violence and its effects on people's lives wherever it may be. In the case of Israel and Palestine, the violence is on the front pages of our newspapers and top story on radio and television on a daily basis. Many Americans are particularly concerned about violence there because of the religious significance of the area--including historical sites holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Beyond the general concern about human suffering, many Americans have a special interest in events in the region because the U.S. government is by far the most dominant outside power there, and decisions made in Washington are central to developments towards war or peace. And further, the U.S. sends billions of our tax dollars in aid to the region, including about $4 billion in annual aid to Israel alone.
U.S. policy in the Middle East also plays a major role in determining how people in that region view our government and American citizens. If we are concerned about the rise in international antagonism not only to Washington policies but towards American citizens, we need to take seriously what our government does in our name in far-flung parts of the world.