Palestine is not a state, and thus cannot be a legitimate member of the Red Cross. Jailed terrorists are criminals, not fighters, and have no right to Red Cross supervision. If they are enemy fighters, then Israel has no right to jail them, but may only intern them forever—until the peace treaty is signed. death sentence for terrorists is a well-established international legal practice. Capital punishment as the only possible sentence for terrorism passes even the US Supreme Court’s test of arbitrariness: potential terrorists are clearly aware of the punishment. Execution won’t solve the problem of terrorism, which is not large in any case—the death toll in terrorist attacks pales compared to that of routine auto accidents. Execution of terrorists, however, would be religiously justified, morally just in tit-for-tat fashion, and more economically efficient than keeping terrorists in Israeli jails for decades at a cost of approximately $2,000 per month per person.

The already-jailed terrorists can be killed during the riots which would erupt if Israel were to offer them a choice between pork and a vegetarian diet.

And nothing at all precludes Israel from downgrading the resort-like conditions of jailed terrorists, and removing satellite TV, pocket money, cell phones, visitation privileges, and anything but the most basic medical treatment.

But all these measures require Israeli leaders with a different mentality—not like Barak, who patted Arafat on shoulder, or Netanyahu, who didn’t bomb two thousand Fatah thugs during their 2009 conference in Bethlehem.

On other hand, Hamas also plays by the rules, and the rule is, don’t kidnap Israelis. Hamas didn’t kidnap Shalit, the Dughmushes did. Only after it took the power in Gaza and had to fight the Dughmushes did Hamas find itself in unwilling possession of Shalit, a hot potato the group couldn’t simply release for political reasons. But Hamas did not kidnap any more Israelis, though to do so would have been exceedingly easy. The hard part, it is assumed, is to keep the prize from Israeli commandos. But the threat of killing the hostage would probably prevent an Israeli rescue attempt today. Israel reciprocates Hamas’s understanding of the situation and refrains from eliminating its leaders.

This war is impossible to fight properly. Israel can obliterate Hamas along with Gaza while Hamas can attack Jews abroad indiscriminately. Both sides therefore play out a war for their voters and sponsors rather than fighting it for real. The situation is similar to the deterrence which exists between normal states strong enough to frighten each other. Hamas is too small to resist Israel, but on the other hand sufficiently small to conduct micro-operations which skip between the wheels of the Israeli security machine.

On both sides, the rulers are happy with the belligerent status quo.