This week without much media fanfare, the Israeli-Palestinians peace talks continued with two unannounced meetings on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2013. Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni revealed that the meetings took place. Both meetings were held in Jerusalem, one in the morning at Jerusalem's King David Hotel just between Livni and her Palestinian counterpart chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. The second one occurred in the evening between the two negotiators and United States Special Envoy Martin Indyk.
This marks the second round of serious meetings between the two parties. Their first serious negotiation meeting took place on Wednesday, Aug. 14, in Jerusalem. The five-hour meeting at a location that was not revealed was described by insiders as "long and serious."
This first meeting included all the negotiators Israeli; Justice Minister Tzipi Livni the designated chief negotiator for Israel, Yitzhak Molcho is personally representing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saeb Erekat representing the Palestinians, and Mohammed Shtayyeh as an Abbas's advisor representing the PA President, in addition to U. S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk, who has mostly been meeting separately with both groups.
In total, this was the third round of meetings the Israelis and Palestinian negotiators had since agreeing on July 19 to new rounds of peace talks since negotiations broke down in 2010 over West Bank Jewish settlement construction. United States Secretary of State John Kerry made six trips to the Middle East from March to July, 2013. Kerry finally announced both sides agreed to peace talks on July 19, 2013. On August 13, Israel released the first batch of 26 prisoners.
Their first sets of meetings were on July 29, 2013 in Washington, D.C. setting the logistics, framework and agenda for the rest of the negotiations. All sides attended an iftar dinner together, following up the next day with State Department meetings, a meeting at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama and a concluding press conference.
The basis of the peace talks is presumed to be creating a Palestinian state based on Israel's pre-1967 borders with land swaps; a contentious issue among the Israeli public and lawmakers that is widely opposed.
Livni spokesperson Mia Bengel wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the time of the first major meeting about the reason behind the secrecy surrounding each negotiation meeting. "The talks resumed. No photo opp. No statements. Why? to allow the teams to work together, and not to think about the media waiting outside."
Speaking at a press conference on July 30, Secretary of State Kerry said there would be a media blackout once the serious talks began in the Middle East in the middle of August. Kerry said; "The only announcement you will hear about meetings is the one that I just made. I will be the only one authorized to comment on the talks."
Kerry has imposed a gag order on all parties involved, where he will be the only one allowed to divulge information about the status of the peace talks publicly. The Secretary of State is not allowing details from the meetings to be made public, nor the progress on the talks or the framework of the negotiations.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Livni stated that "there will be dramatic decisions" that have to be made by Israel if the country plans to make a peace agreement. As for what is occurring at the meetings, Livni replied "We are arguing, but we are arguing inside the room."
Livni also stated there are members of the government coalition making it more to difficult for a peace deal to be made, referring to the Bayit Yehudi party, who opposes the two state solution, and land for peace. Naftali Bennett's, Bayit Yehudi's leader responded on Facebook, telling Livni to "get over it."
After the meetings on Tuesday both sides agreed the next meeting would be "soon," but no specific time or date was given.