On July 29, under the benign eye of US Secretary of State John Kerry, peace negotiators for Israel and Palestine, Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat respectively, shook hands in Washington to launch "sustained, continuous and substantive" talks on a long-sought Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. At the same moment an information blackout was imposed on all those directly involved in the process. There were to be no leaks about progress or the lack of it, no briefings to the media about unmet demands from one side or the other. This curtain of secrecy would, it was hoped, block the usual extremist response to any attempt at reconciliation – action aimed at undermining the peace process and instituting a new tit-for-tat round of violence.Nine months was the period allotted to reaching agreement between the two sides – a long time to sustain hermetically sealed negotiations. Inevitably a flood of speculation about the talks, most of it skeptical wishful thinking, has drenched the media. But a trickle or two of authoritative information about the course of the discussions has also emerged.