JERUSALEM — Just hours after a bomb exploded on a Tel Aviv bus, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a truce with the very people his government blamed for the blast — the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza.
Wednesday’s decision to pull back from the brink of a full-scale invasion of Gaza despite the attack, which wounded 27 people, belies Mr. Netanyahu’s international image as an uncompromising, bellicose hardliner.
Indeed, the eight-day campaign against Hamas in Gaza was the first major military operation he had ordered after seven years in power — a remarkable record in a country that has repeatedly gone to war in its 64-year history.
“People don’t realize that Netanyahu is trigger-unhappy,” said Ehud Yaari, an Israel-based fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“He is very cautious and very restrained. You could see that this past week. He set very…
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