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Escalation Day 9: Countries Rush to De-Escalate While Israel Mobilizes Tanks on Gaza Border

October 15, 2023
Image Credit: Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/X

Amid a growing conflict, both the toll in lives and the tension surge, and a major showdown looms as Israel awaits the green light for a potential invasion of Gaza.

As tanks amass near the Gaza border and warnings echo, a massive exodus is underway, leaving hundreds of thousands displaced.

The risk of a broader regional conflict still looms large, and international voices call for an end to collective punishment.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s geopolitical importance during the escalation continues to increase, with United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meeting Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.


Conflict between the two sides is still on the rise, as the death toll reaches 2,374 Palestinians and at least 1,300 Israelis. An additional 10,242 Palestinians and 3,200 Israelis were injured.

The barrage of attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip is expected to escalate after the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) spokesperson revealed that the military is awaiting a final political decision to begin its invasion of Gaza.

A live correspondence from Al-Jazeera on 15 October indicates that Israeli tanks are being mobilized near the Gaza border, in preparation for the invasion.

Prior to the mobilization, warnings were issued by the IDF to the one million residents of Northern Gaza to flee southwards to Rafah before Israel’s ground operations commenced to avoid being in the line of fire.

The continuing destruction of the Strip, coupled with Israel’s warnings to Gazans to flee quickly, culminated in over 400,000 residents becoming internally displaced, reports the United Nations.

Cross-border skirmishes near Syria and Lebanon are also persisting, resulting in growing worry over the situation escalating into a region-wide conflict.

On 14 October, The IDF reported that Israeli missiles were fired into unnamed parts of Syria in response to facing two missiles from its northern neighbor. The Syrian government also reported a second missile attack on its airport in Aleppo, accusing the Israeli military of the damage.

On 15 October, Israel sealed off parts of its border with Lebanon after facing additional skirmishes with Hezbollah. The IDF reported it is striking specific sites linked to Hezbollah after at least five anti-tank guided missiles were fired from Lebanon at Shtula, killing one Israeli civilian.


With tensions rising across the region, President Al-Sisi met with top government and military officials on 15 October to discuss means of de-escalation.

The meeting concluded with Al-Sisi announcing Egypt’s intentions to host “an international regional summit to address the developments and future of the Palestinian issue.”

The meeting also reaffirmed Egypt’s stance over Israel-Palestine, stressing the importance of a two-state solution.

Egypt’s growing role as an essential mediator in the escalation is met with growing pressure to accept refugees through the Rafah border crossing.

Egyptian authorities refused the passage of foreign residents of Gaza through the crossing, except as part of a foreign aid delivery agreement – a response to Israel’s continued prevention of the flow of Egyptian humanitarian aid to Gaza through Rafah.

Several trucks and planes carrying humanitarian aid remain on hold in Sinai as Egypt awaits security clearance to deliver much-needed relief to Gazans.

United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Cairo on 15 October to meet with President Al-Sisi and discuss Egypt’s geopolitical role and ways of cooperating in the de-escalation process.

“The reaction went beyond the right to self-defence, turning into collective punishment for 2.3 million people in Gaza,” Al-Sisi was heard telling Blinken live on AlQahera News in light of Israel’s continuous retaliatory strikes.

Over in the East, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi remarked that Israel is acting “beyond the scope of self-defense [and must] cease its collective punishment of the people of Gaza.”

A special envoy of Chinese diplomats is set to tour the Middle East next week in an attempt to provide solutions to the growing conflict, confirmed Yi.

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