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After months of US-sponsored indirect negotiations direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine are set to begin on Thursday after being frozen for more than 18 month.

Top level talks in search of the elusive peace deal broke off in 2008 when Israel invaded the Gaza Strip.

But with Hamas noticeably missing at the talks, can real peace be achieved? Is it time for the other players to recognise them?

Or could talks with the Palestinian Authority simply make Hamas less relevant?

Would the current Palestinian divide affect the ability of the Palestinian team headed by President Mahmoud Abbas to deliver?

Joining the programme are Michele Dunne, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ezzedine Choukri, a professor of international politics at the American University in Cairo, and Dianna Buttu, a lawyer and former spokesperson with the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, August 31, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera