The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between the secret negotiations and the public rhetoric of Palestinian and Israeli leaders leading up to the Oslo I Accords. To accomplish this goal, we coded public statements made by Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the months preceding the accords and the events that unfolded during the talks. We hypothesized that the Palestinian leaders, as nonstate actors, would engage in outbidding by showing a more aggressive, backward-looking orientation in public. Israeli leaders, as state actors, would engage in frontstage-backstage behavior and display a more balanced public rhetoric. The results showed that the Palestinians focused on justice issues framed as mistrust and backward looking. This public framing was associated with retreat in the private talks. In contrast, the Israelis switched between positively and negatively framed rhetoric with forward-looking and affiliative statements correlated with lack of progress and backward-looking and mistrust rhetoric associated with progress in the talks.