I had reason to be optimistic today when I caught this NY Times headline: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/world/middleeast/05meshal.html?_r=1&hp
In the story, Khaled Meshal, Hamas' leader, advocates a very Palestinian Authority-ish stance, calling for a return to pre-1967 borders, dismantling of settlements, and right of return for Palestinian refugees.
I know the right of return issue makes the whole thing a non-starter for many, who fear the consequences of the numbers who could be involved may threaten Israel's existence.
Still, the fact that anyone from Hamas -- let alone its leader -- is calling for anything other than pushing the Israeli state right into the sea has got to be cause for optimism on some level.
Surely, a two-state solution will not mean the end to all terrorism in the region. If we ever reach such a solution, and isolated terror attacks still occur (which they will), there will undoubtedly be a chorus of "I told you sos," from the naysayers. But if we make the total cessation of attacks a precursor to the two states, that only ensures we'll never see such a solution, because it makes any teenager with a chest full of nails and ball bearings more powerful than the U.S., the UN, and the EU put together.
And it will give many of the people in the world who don't see this conflict the way most Americans do continued reason to offer moral support to the stateless, who, by accident of birth, happen to find their homes in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.