Jackson Diehl in this Washington Post op/ed
, seems to mistake elections for a democracy. His argument is that while the Bush Administration talks of democracy in the Arab World, they are not in favor of elections in the Palestinian Authority because that would very likely produce a victory for Arafat. Contrary to what many on the Left believe, elections are not necessarily an indicator of democracy. This belief in elections has led to inane faith of the legitimacy of Arafat as "the sole representative" of the Palestinians because he was "elected". By this logic Saddam was a legitimately elected leader, as was Stalin.
Obviously democracy requires a lot more than simply elections. The key requirement is the belief in the Rule of Law above all else. Clearly this is not the case in the Palestinian Authority or in any current Arab society. And until this aspect of democracy becomes ingrained in a society, no amount of elections will produce a legitimate leader or a free society.