"There are those who say that democracy is foreign to Islam," Sharansky said yesterday. "But I can bring you quotes from American experts who said Japan would never be democratic, because it is a different world, that Russia would never be democratic, that Spain would never be democratic, that Latin America would never be democratic."
Of all the Arabs, Sharansky said, the Palestinians are the closest to democracy. The problem is that until now the West has chosen to prop up a dictator Arafat.
When reminded that the polls show the Palestinians are overwhelmingly still supportive of Arafat, Sharansky asked, "What does it mean that the Palestinians love only Arafat, the Russians when asked loved only Stalin. Did they have a choice. Has anybody made sure that the Palestinians have a choice?"
Sharansky said that Israel needs to free itself of the illusion that the Palestinians chose Arafat's dictatorship. The West chose that, he said, by not providing another option.