The 1st Leinsters and 5th Connaught Rangers found the enemy in a stubborn mood west of Deir Ibzia, but they broke down the opposition in the proper Irish style and rapidly reached their objectives. The centre group started one hour after the left and got their line without much difficulty. The right group was hotly opposed.

It was some time before steam rollers crushed in the surface, but even rammed-in stones were better than mud, and the lorry drivers' tasks became lighter. General Chetwode's plan was to secure a line from Obeid, 9000 yards east of Bethlehem, the hill of Zamby covering the Jericho road three miles from Jerusalem, Anata, Hismeh, Jeba, Burkah, Beitun, El Balua, Kh. el Burj, Deir Ibzia to Shilta.

This front was being threatened at several points, and the activity of patrols at Deir Ibzia and north of it suggested that the enemy was trying to get into the gap of five miles between the yeomanry and the right of the 54th Division which was now at Shilta.

On the 24th December, while General Chetwode was conferring with his divisional commanders, information was brought in that the Turks were making preparations to recapture Jerusalem by an attack on the 60th Division, and the Corps Commander decided that the moment the enemy was found to be fully committed to this attack the 10th Division and one brigade of the 74th Division would fall on the enemy's right and advance over the Zeitun, Kereina, and Ibzia ridges.