What the future government of Palestine may be is uncertain at the time of writing. There is talk of international control we seem ever ready to lose at the conference table what a valiant sword has gained for us but the careful and perfectly correct administration of General Allenby will save us from the criticism of many jealous foreigners.
Lord Allenby now came upon the scene, and, while suppressing the rebellion, released Zaghlul and gave him and his delegation the permission to go to Europe which had been refused in January. It was now decided to send out the Milner Mission, but there was a further delay of seven months before it started, and during all that time agitation continued.
The rank and file knew something more than this. They saw the Commander-in-Chief at the front every day. General Allenby did not rely solely on reports from his corps. He went to each section of the line himself, and before practically every major operation he saw the ground and examined the scheme for attack.
Sixty-five days after General Allenby entered the Jaffa Gate into the city of Jerusalem the water pipe or system was brought into the city and the Canadian engineer had made the Arab legend a reality, bringing the sweet waters of the Nile, a hundred and fifty miles away, into the City of the Great King. Jerusalem is to this day a walled city.
The full effects had not been wholly realised when the War Cabinet selected General Allenby for the control of the big operations, but the improvement in the condition of the troops was already most marked, and when General Allenby arrived and at once directed that General Headquarters should be moved from Cairo, which was pleasant but very far away from the front, to Kelab, near Khan Yunus, there was not a man who did not see in the new order of things a sign that he was to be given a chance of testing the Briton's supremacy over the Turk.
I wonder if many of our big commanders realised as fully as did General Allenby the enormous influence the "personal touch" had on the troops they commanded?
Extremist leaders have the power of compelling even their friends to deport them and treat them as enemies, and I assume that Zaghlul put Lord Allenby under this compulsion, when he decided that his deportation was necessary.
They bore right-handed, cleared the Mount of Olives, which commands Jerusalem from the east, drove the enemy away eastwards, and occupied a position east of Jerusalem across the Jericho road. These operations isolated Jerusalem. At about noon on the 9th December, 1918, the city was surrendered. Two days later General Allenby made his official entry into Jerusalem. It was a simple ceremony.
However, for the moment they contented themselves with occupying Homs, a town on the caravan route about a hundred miles north of Damascus. Then General Allenby ordered a further advance on Aleppo, the last stronghold of the Turks in the country; and on October 21st the 5th Cavalry Division with the armoured cars started on what was to be their last ride.
The city had passed, without the shedding of a drop of blood, into the hands of General Allenby, and the soldiers stationed there, inspired by the associations of the place and the Christmas season, had left their barracks shortly before midnight, and, proceeding to the officers' quarters, had greeted them with a hymn.