Re "Palestinians Do Not Need Another Tyrant," Commentary, Dec. 8: Natan Sharansky says, "The Oslo process failed because the democratic world, including Israel, believed that peace could be made with a dictator." This is untrue. Although Israel wanted peace, it failed because it wanted land even more.
William G. Garrett
Sharansky, in his analysis of the prospects for Mideast peace, puts an emphasis on democracy for the Palestinians as a key element in the struggle. Living under occupation for almost 40 years, the Palestinians have seen the Israeli democracy at work. The benefits of that democracy did not extend to the Palestinians, even as their lands were increasingly taken for the construction of illegal Jewish settlements in their midst. Palestinians' efforts for independence and self-determination were suppressed as a threat to Israel. Yes, it is important for peace that a democratic state of Palestine succeeds. But please, Mr. Sharansky, your appeal has a ring of hypocrisy and falseness to it, considering the actions of your government for decades.
Morro Bay, Calif.
Sharansky's Op-Ed piece was right on: In the search for peace, the ball is in the Palestinians' court. His cogent analysis can be summarized by the last sentence of his eighth paragraph: "It was Andrei Sakharov, the foremost dissident in the Soviet Union, who taught me that regimes that do not respect the rights of their own people will not respect the rights of their neighbors."