... The old adage comes into play: one doesn't make peace with one's friends, one makes peace with one's enemies. It is not necessary that Hamas recognize Israel before negotiations. Neither is it necessary that Israel recognize the necessity of the establishment of a Palestinian state, before negotiations. It is only necessary that Hamas recognize Israel and that Israel recognize a Palestinian state when negotiations have ended. Because there will be no peace without such mutual recognition.
Indeed, it all comes down to getting both sides to talk honestly. Israel has to admit that a Palestinian homeland is not in their future plans - that the West Bank is an obstruction to their controlling all of the water resources of the Jordan River - and Hamas and Hezbollah have to admit their motivation is the destruction of Israel, whether by violence or by gaining a 'right of return' to ancestral land within Israel's borders and taking over the political process there.
It seems an intractable problem, but if George Mitchell got 2 flavors of Irish and the English (people just as stubborn as the Jews and Arabs) to put down their guns, he has the best chance of getting these two to quit shooting and start talking.
Hopefully they do it soon because there's a lotta stuff I want to see over there (on both sides) but I ain't taking the Mrs. into a war zone.