General Allenby's contribution to the part that the EEF played in British strategy in the Levant needs clarification. Under the lackadaisical leadership of General Sir Archibald Murray, Allenby's predecessor as Commander-inChief of the EEF, the force had achieved little. By the spring of 1917 the EEF had finally reached the town of Gaza on the edge of Palestine after a methodical push across the Sinai from the Suez Canal. Having crossed the peninsula, the Turks then defeated Murray's army in March and April 1917 at the first two battles of Gaza when Murray attempted to push into Palestine. Without a new and vigorous commander, the EEF was fated to languish in the unhealthy climate of the Sinai peninsula. The new commander needed to possess political acumen, besides the necessary military skills, to negotiate with London for the political status of occupied Turkish territory. Allenby's arrival in Palestine in June 1917 was a turning point in the fortunes of the EEF.