Israel lost the war with the Palestinians when she switched from military to the police realm. In the military mode, you carpet-bomb your enemies, you burn them with incendiary bombs, you thrash their infrastructure. In short, you hate them en masse and act on that hate. In the police mode, you seek out hostile elements while extending benevolent treatment to the general population. In theory, the difference between the two modi operandi is simple: once a significant part of the population engages in hostilities, the truce is void, the benevolent regime is revoked, and the hostile territory turns into a free-fire range. Theoretically, the targeting is not altogether free: non-combatants should not be targeted, but can only be killed as collateral damage. That fine distinction has never held, as for example the Allies bombed German and Japanese cities to crush the enemy’s will to fight—and in revenge, too. The mere approval of insurgents is insufficient: the populace must extend them some tangible support before it is treated according to wartime standards. Gazans have long passed that threshold by electing Hamas and shielding its terrorists. By any standard, Gaza is an independent territory with its own foreign policy and an army which wages war on a neighboring state.

The Gaza problem might go away. Palestinians might grow tired of hardships and fighting, and elect a moderate party. Given the current level of Hamas, PIJ, and PRC armaments, they are unlikely to cede their grip on Palestinian society. Moderates would be denounced as traitors, and suitably killed. During decades of hopeful moderation, the Palestinians will extend their rocket range and continue attacking Israel.

Israel’s incursion into Gaza would be disastrous. Fake morality would send Jewish soldiers into Gaza slums without artillery cover, leaving them open to mine traps and snipers. As soon as IDF withdraws, a victorious Hamas will reemerge.

Hamas can be rooted out only by police means. Israel has to reoccupy Gaza and conduct Sharon-style police actions: engage tens of thousands of agents and provocateurs, impose collective punishment, punishment on suspicion, and suspend due process. The work should be uncompromising: no Palestinian government or authorities, no police. And importantly, no prisoner exchanges.

The original reasoning for prisoner exchanges, enunciated during the Entebbe crisis, was that the swap is permissible only insofar as no military option exists. The reasoning goes that a government which cannot protect its citizens has to exchange them. In Gaza, the military option is eminently easy: arrest scores of Hamas officials and keep shooting jailed Palestinian terrorists on an hourly basis until Israeli hostages are released, and refuse to release any Palestinians whose jail term has expired. As long as Israel acts madly, no kidnappings would take place.

Logically and morally, however, Israel should take a different approach. It is wrong to expend Jewish lives and resources to police Gaza for decades. It is an enemy entity with an enemy population whose elected government kills Jews. Those people are far from defenseless: in fact, Hamas has created formidable defenses including tunnels, mines, anti-tank and anti-aircraft rockets. Gazans are an enemy, and Gaza is an enemy state. So take care of Jews, and bomb Gaza just like the Allies bombed Dresden.