President Biden warned Israel not to be “consumed by rage,” even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised “mighty vengeance” against Hamas. But revenge isn’t the only anger at play, or even the most corrosive. The fury that’s eating Israel’s war cabinet is regret. No matter how the military responds, there’s a sense that it’s too late.
“We blew it,” Maj. Gen. Yoav Gallant, now Israel’s defense minister, told me following a Sept. 6, 2003, airstrike on Hamas leadership. (I was a Washington Post reporter.) Eight senior Hamas commanders, including bomb makers and developers of Qassam rockets, had met for lunch on the ground floor of a Gaza home. It was a rare daylight appearance of Mohammed Deif, Hamas’s shadowy military leader.
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