Beersheba's Message

[Australian] Editorial - Ninety years ago, on October 31, 1917, the Australian Light Horse Brigade charged into history. Few are aware of the sunset charge by 800 Anzacs, mounted on horses, that defeated 4,000 Turks, captured Beersheba, and led to the liberation of Jerusalem and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The Battle of Beersheba was part of a chain of events that changed the course of history. It was conducted on the same day as the British War Cabinet formulated the Balfour Declaration, the formal statement of its intention at the end of World War I to establish a Jewish homeland. The declaration was incorporated into the peace treaty with Turkey, the British Mandate in Palestine, and led in 1948 to the establishment of the State of Israel. Yet the outcome of the battle was anything but a foregone conclusion. The bravery of the Anzacs was fuelled by desperation. The horses had marched for three days and were desperately short of water. If the wells in Beersheba hadn't been captured, the horses would have died in 24 hours. Australian casualties were low at Beersheba with 31 killed and 36 wounded, but the strategic significance of the battle was great.

2007-11-02 01:00:00

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