Jerusalem – Monday evening October 7, 2013, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators held an extended round of political talks, under American mediation, yet again, ending without achieving progress.Tzipi Livni and Chief Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho represented the Israeli side, while Chief Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, and Mohammad Eshtayya represented the Palestinian side.

While no progress was made on core issues, the two sides agreed to strengthen the American “mediation role”, as demanded by the Palestinian side. Yet, U.S Special Envoy to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Martin Indyk, did not participate in the meeting.

The two sides recently agreed to intensify negotiations sessions, and to hold two sessions of direct talks per week, to discuss a large array of issues, in an attempt to reach a peace deal.

Israeli TV, Channel 10 quoted a Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stating that the two sides are holding extensive rounds of talks, and decided to extend the number of hours in each round to eight.

The official said that the United States has demanded Israel and the Palestinian Authority to intensify the talks, especially amidst rising serious conflicts regarding arrangements on core issues, such as borders, the refugees, and security.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiations teams have been holding a meeting or two a week since direct talks were resumed under direct American mediation.

Each round of talks mainly lasted an hour or two, an issue that casted doubt on achieving the American goal of reaching a final status peace deal by April of 2013.

The talks were resumed in late July following three years of stalemate, while most rounds of talks, especially recent ones, have been held away from the media, with no signs of achieving any notable progress.

Obstacles remain largely the same, with no Israeli interest in ending its illegitimate occupation of Palestine, its insistence of building and expanding Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and in occupied Jerusalem, in addition to the Israeli demand to focus on security arrangements rather than other core issue.

Israel refuses to recognize international resolutions by the United Nations and the Security Council, and insists that its illegitimate settlements are not an obstacle to peace.

This is happening admits escalating assaults carried out by Israeli soldiers and extremist settlers against the Palestinians, their property and their holy sites.