This article examines the history of international humanitarian relief from 1918 to 1920 with a focus on the American Red Cross (arc) in Jerusalem, during the period that eventually led to the establishment of the British mandate in Palestine. The analysis shows a discrepancy between the arc's projects and what it actually realised during its humanitarian operations. The mission's ambition clearly went beyond offering temporary shelter, blankets, clothing, some food and medical aid. It was a rehabilitation and construction mission. The results were unimpressive for a number of reasons that this article examines in detail.