The election is over and Arafat is dead so perhaps we can be level-headed, for a change, about president Bill Clinton's legacy concerning Israel and the Palestinians.
My question: Who was "better" for Israel? George W. Bush or Bill Clinton
I propose answering this simple question using a simple formula. I propose that the president who caused fewer Jews to be murdered was the better president concerning Israel.
Using the information helpfully provided here, I've compiled a spreadsheet (available on request) and summed the number of victims of each attack.
Between 1994 and 2000: 167 Israelis were killed by terrorists
Between 2001 and 2004: 557 Israelis were killed by terrorists
For those of you who prefer poetry to math, that's about 5 times the number of deaths, in half the time.
My theory is that so long as Clinton made available a diplomatic channel the Arab street was quiet. The masses saw that they had a chance, via negotiations, (kept alive by Clinton) and the violence lessened. The moment the negotiations seemed to have reached a dead end (Camp David) the violence erupted again. It was virtually instantaneous. Later Bush isolated Arafat, eliminating any chance of a deal, and the violence got worse and worse
So to recap: When Clinton pushed Israel and Palestine to talk to one another, and insisted that diplomacy was an option, the violence abated. When Bush twiddled his thumbs and spouted nonsense about how resolute he was Jews died, and in obscene numbers.
The Bush-policy the right adores made it clear that negotiations were finished and Jews died, like night follows day.
Disclaimer: Of course there are many variables, and all sorts of ways to sift the data, but like the president, dovbear is a simple man, and this is a simple answer. Clinton's policy kept the hope of negotiations alive, and Jews enjoyed a relative calm. Bush's policy was a policy of no negotiations and Jewish bodies were stacked like cordwood.
UPDATE: (I don't endorse this comment's attack on MoChassid so I edited it (again, insulting the other j-bloggers is my shtick. Get your own.) but he deserves to be read:
MoChasid... You call this rediculous? Admitted its not state department level analysis, but the guy cares that Jews are dying, and he thinks Clinton did more to stop it than Bush did. Why can't you appreicate his love of Jews, and leave it at that? Is your Clinton hatred making it impossible for you to appreciate a guy who loves Jews and wants tham alive, rather than dead?
Yes, I also think Clinton-hatred, and Arab-hatred and other hatreds makes it hard to think about this rationally. I also admit: I didn't do the issue justice in the brief post. But I don't think its at all clear that Bush was good for Israel.