The death toll in Gaza has topped 1,400, with more than 40 people dying after another day of intense Israeli bombardment from air, sea and land. The toll is now greater than in both previous rounds of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Palestinian officials in Gaza said on Thursday that 8,200 people had been wounded in the four-week operation. Up to 80% of the Palestinian casualties were civilians, according to local non-government organisations and the UN. Three civilians on the Israeli side and 56 soldiers have been killed so far. Read more >>
The cartoon by Dave Brown from The Independent uses an English idiom to make a point about the conflict in Gaza. To use 'a sledgehammer to crack a nut' means to use disproportionate force or expense to overcome a minor problem. The cartoon shows a blood-spattered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, which is lying in a pool of blood and, one supposes, represents the Palestinian militant Islamist organisation Hamas. The head of the sledgehammer is in fact a bomb — a reference to the Israeli bombs which have killed so many civilians in Gaza. The title of the cartoon 'Nuts' is an informal word meaning 'crazy', and tells us what the cartoonist thinks about Israel's response to the Hamas rocket attacks, as well as being a play on the idiom represented by the cartoon. The fact that the nut has not been cracked may also be significant.