Its hard to know exactly how much of the optimism that the US administration is radiating about the peace talks is spin and how much is real. It would seem that it's in everyone's interest to put forth the sense of significant progress; in order to avoid the looming land mine of the approaching deadline ending the construction freeze. The US is asking for a two month extension in order to give time to agree on final borders. Netanyahu has stated there will be extension of the order. On the other hand, it's very clear that he will do all he can to make sure there is as little building as possible- I remain cautiously optimistic.
I also want to suggest a series of You Tube Videos from an organization Called Toldot Yisrael. They are on a quest to video tape all those who are still alive and fought in the 1948 war of Independence.