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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

Khan Yunus

Khan Yunus.

Those who know Khan Yunus will remember that it lies in a fold between the coastal sand-hills and the more fertile land to the south. From a distance the only signs of the village are to be seen from the south-west, in the form of a series of tree-crowned knolls, upon which a few longr tailed sheep graze, and some scattered, mud-walled gardens. My first glimpse of Khan Yunus was from that direction, at sunrise on a late day in Marca—a time when the crops had reached their fullness, and when the anemones were a scarlet glory.

The next time I viewed Khan Yunus was in July. Coming suddenly on the village alter traversing the Abasan flats— dreary, dusty, aching, brown plains, shimmering in a hazy heat, devoid of all vegetation in the summer months—the fresh green of the little cultivated valley welcomes the tired wayfarer as a caress. Almond and apricot flourish in neat, earthen-walled orchards;giant rig and dusky pomegranate line the shadowed lanes; grapes cling to the queer native houses, and countless melon vines trail and twine across the loose, sandy slopes. Over all, plumed palms tower to keep watch inscrutable. Quaint mud houses, twisting lanes, and hoary hedges of "old man" pear, are a fit setting for the groups of ragged men lying in the shade of the walls, the scantily clad children rolling about at play in the dust, and the busy women, black-gowned and veiled, preparing the evening meal.

The quiet of this peaceful village was rudely broken by the advent of thousands of khaki-clad, sun-tanned soldiers, with their horses, guns, wagons, and tents; and the landscape, after the railway wound through the valley, was scarred by dumps of supplies, stores, and ammunition. For a time Khan Yunus became a hive of military activity, and flourished mightily. Now, little remains to remind the Bedouin that?n army passed through his village, making it a headquarters for a season, save a twin track of iron, coming out of the West and disappearing into the East.