An Israeli army M109 155mm self-propelled howitzer fires rounds near the border with Gaza in southern Israel on October 12, 2023.
An Israeli army M109 155mm self-propelled howitzer fires rounds near the border with Gaza in southern Israel on October 12, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

As tensions escalate in Gaza, and regional stability remains under a looming threat, the UAE has taken the lead in diplomatic and humanitarian initiatives aimed at addressing the unfolding crisis.

In a diplomatic move, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan engaged in a key phone call with US President Joe Biden, discussing ongoing regional developments and the paramount need to safeguard the lives of civilians.

Both leaders emphasised the critical importance of creating safe corridors for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, recognising the pressing need for such assistance.

On Thursday Mohamed bin Zayed reached out to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, in an effort to contain the rapidly escalating situation in Gaza and prioritise the safety of civilian populations.

Their collective emphasis centred on the urgency of establishing secure humanitarian aid routes and the pivotal role of regional and international collaboration in diffusing rising tensions.

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To underscore the UAE’s unwavering commitment to addressing this crisis, it has allocated $20 million in humanitarian aid through the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

This proactive role in humanitarian relief underscores the dire necessity for cooperative efforts to mitigate the ongoing turmoil in Gaza and pave the way for regional peace and stability.

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Israeli tanks move near the Israeli Gaza border, Israel. Image Credit: AP

Escalation in the region

On Thursday US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Israel. His agenda includes efforts to secure the release of American hostages held by Hamas, along with urging restraint and facilitating the safe passage of Gaza's civilians.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport on October 12, 2023 Image Credit: AFP

Meanwhile Egypt said that it was directing international aid flights for Gaza to an airport in northern Sinai, though delivery of relief into the Palestinian enclave has so far been hampered by Israeli bombardments around the border.

The recent escalation in the region has already exacted a devastating toll, with nearly 74,000 displaced individuals seeking refuge in UNRWA shelters in Gaza — a number that is expected to rise as Israeli air strikes and shelling persist.

The conflict has led to a staggering death toll, with the Palestinian health ministry reporting a minimum of 1,417 casualties in the Gaza Strip due to Israeli bombings.

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Smoke plumes billow during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on October 12, 2023 as raging battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue for the sixth consecutive day. Image Credit: AFP

Ground Offensive looms

Israeli authorities revised the figures of those killed to 1,200 following a series of attacks by Hamas over the Jewish holiday weekend. The number of US citizens killed in the conflict has risen to at least 25, with many of the Oct. 7 victims hailing from overseas.

As the fighting continues, the Israeli government has intensified its bombardment of Gaza, marking a significant escalation following a total blockade on the Strip since Saturday. The potential for a Ground Offensive looms as the crisis intensifies.

It’s crucial to note that Gaza remains one of the most densely populated areas globally, with 2.4 million residents, half of whom are children, residing on a small 362-square-kilometre strip of land.