Primary Documents - The Fall of Jerusalem, 1917

Decree signifying the surrender of Jerusalem; click to enlarge December 1917 brought, amidst the gloom of repeated setbacks on the battlefields of the Western Front, welcome news to the British government in London.

Having tasked Sir Edmund Allenby with leading British forces to success in capturing the holy city of Jerusalem by Christmas, David Lloyd George received news of its fall on 9 December.  The loss of Jerusalem constituted a grave setback to Ottoman prestige in the region.

Reproduced below is the text of the decree of surrender issued by Izzat to the British.  Click here to view a larger image of the document.

(Photograph by kind permission of Phil McKenzie)

Text of the Decree of the
Surrender of Jerusalem into British Control

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 Bey al-Husseini, the mayor of Jerusalem, hoping that you will protect Jerusalem the way we have protected it for more than five hundred years.

Signed Izzat the Mutasarrif of Jerusalem

"Gas Bag" was a slang term for airships.

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Primary Docs