Demand transparency from governments


The leak of the so-called "Palestine Papers" should have been a major topic of conversation in the United States, based on the information those papers contained. For some strange reason, it seems the leak has gone relatively unnoticed in the States. These papers are yet another strong piece of evidence in favor of increased transparency in government.

Anyone who has been following the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has heard the same story — that Palestine has been actively refusing compromise and that the United States and Israel, despite their best efforts, cannot make Palestine budge. According to the leaked documents, this is far from the case. In reality, it seems that the roles are actually reversed. Palestine has offered to make numerous massive concessions, and the United States and Israel have rejected them all. One of the more notable compromises Palestine has offered is limiting the number of refugees allowed to return to their old homeland to 100,000 refugees over a 10-year period — out of roughly three million people claiming refugee rights. Another striking concession — also rejected — was Palestine's agreement to relinquish their claims to the Jewish and Armenian quarters in Jerusalem.

Palestine offered other concessions as well, all of which were just as surprising given the story the public hears over and over again, and all of which were also rejected. It is clear that, according to the "Palestine Papers," the United States is firmly rooted on Israel's side of the negotiations, and both the United States and Israel are far less willing to compromise than Palestine in this situation.

The fact that these papers tells a different story than the one that many people have heard throughout the years is a bit disconcerting. Unsurprisingly, the documents have caused uproar in Palestine, as many citizens feel betrayed by their government. In a sense — though definitely not to the same extent — the government has misled the American citizens. There should never be a reason for a government to lie to its citizens. But, sadly, that tends to happen rather often. The leak of these papers demonstrates that governing bodies need to be more transparent with those they are governing, no matter what.

Sure, the revelations in the papers were not earth-shattering — surprising, but not earth-shattering. Still, regardless of the magnitude, there is a message in all of this — don't tell your citizens one thing if you are just going to go out and do the opposite.


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