First Battle of Gaza - Background - British Policy

British Policy

Britain's three major war objectives at the time were to maintain maritime supremacy in the Mediterranean Sea, while preserving the balance of power in Europe, and the security of Egypt, India, and the Persian Gulf. The latter could be secured by an advance into Palestine and the capture of Jerusalem, which would ultimately cut off the Ottoman forces in Mesopotamia and on the Arabian Peninsula.

As a first step towards accomplishing this aim, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force was required to capture the stronghold of Gaza, which dominated the coastal route from Egypt to Jaffa, and encouragingly, just prior to the Gaza battle, on 20 March the Ottoman Army was considered to be "steadily deteriorating." Between the victory at Rafa in early January and the end of February, 70 deserters entered the British lines. These were considered to be a small proportion of the majority of Arabs and Syrians whom it was believed, disappeared from the Ottoman army, into the towns and villages of Palestine and Transjordan.

Read more about this topic:  First Battle Of Gaza, Background

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