Know Your History: The Battle of Gaza (NY Times April 15, 1917)

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series where I bring to you news from the archives and historical documents to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.

In March 1917, British army officer General Sir Archibald James Murray commanded a British force at the First Battle of Gaza. They succeeded in entering Gaza from the north and capturing some territory, but the threat from large Turkish reinforcements ultimately led to decision to withdraw. This led to a Second Battle of Gaza in April 1917, with similar results.

The New York Times dealt with this in April 1917, and their report is revealing. Note:



  • No mention of “Palestinians” – just Egyptians, Turks and Arabs
  • Mention of “Judaea” – which is now referred to as ‘West Bank” (following Six Day War). The words “Judaea” and “Judaism” are related.
  • Gaza being referred to as an “ancient biblical city”
  • Murray’s report acknowledging the Jewish history of the area and revealing a desire to “revive the Jewish Palestine of old”

Note: I cannot provide a link to the full article since it is only available to those who have purchased a NY Times subscription. But I have provided screenshots below.

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