The State Department said for the first time that the U.S. envoy for Israeli-Palestinian peace had taken part in a meeting between the two parties since negotiations resumed in late July, but declined to say when or whether any progress was made. “Israeli and Palestinian delegations have been meeting continuously since final status negotiations resumed on July 29,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a brief written statement. “The negotiations have been serious, and U.S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk and his team have been fully briefed on the bilateral talks and also participated in a bilateral negotiating session,” she added. “As we have said in the past, we are not planning to read out the details of these meetings.” The Palestinians had complained recently that Indyk had not been participating directly in the talks, as they had expected.
Palestinian officials said the chief Israeli and Palestinian representatives are to meet again on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Sunday that a second group of Palestinian security prisoners could be released by Israel by the end of September.
There was no comment on this from Israel, which has conditioned the continued release of the total of 104 terrorists on significant progress in the talks.
The last three rounds of meetings between the two sides did not achieve any progress, Nabil Sha’ath, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said Sunday.
And a planned meeting between a delegation of Knesset members and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was postponed on Sunday, The Associated Press reported.
The lawmakers — a new caucus formed to support the peace talks — had planned on traveling to Abbas’s headquarters in Ramallah on Tuesday.
An Israeli spokeswoman cited the crisis in nearby Syria and high-level Palestinian meetings Abbas is holding this week necessitated the postponement until sometime in the coming weeks.