Saturday 9 December 2017

Jerusalem Surrenders

Sunday 9th December 1917

Exciting news has reached us from the adjutant of the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment in Palestine early this morning. The army has been putting continual pressure on the Turks in Jerusalem from the west and the south. The Turks, readers will remember, had tried to attack the Bedfords and failed to make any significant ground. This pattern was repeated elsewhere and it seems that this forced the enemy to realise that Jerusalem could not be held.

By 7th December the 53rd (Welsh) Division was just south of Bethlehem. Yesterday the Turks abandoned our Lord’s birthplace. As with the situation to the south of Jerusalem, so it was to the west, our troops advancing close to the city. This morning Jerusalem has been abandoned by the enemy and surrendered to British and Imperial forces! The text of the surrender, we understand, reads as follows: "Due to the severity of the siege of the city and the suffering that this peaceful country has endured from your heavy guns; and for fear that these deadly bombs will hit the holy places, we are forced to hand over to you the city through Hussein al-Husseini, the Mayor of Jerusalem, hoping that you will protect Jerusalem the way we have protected it for more than five hundred years." Thus are Bethlehem and Jerusalem restored to Christendom just before Christmas.

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