To make this Oriental dream a reality, the Germans have not relied on their railway concessions alone. Their Government has done everything in its power to encourage German colonization in Palestine. Scattered all over the country are German mills that half of the time have nothing to grind. German hotels have been opened in places seldom frequented by tourists. German engineers appeared in force, surveying, sounding, noting. All these colonists held gatherings in the Arab villages, when the ignorant natives were told of the greatness of Germany, of her good intentions, and of the evil machinations of other powers. What I state here can be corroborated by any one who knows Palestine and has lived in it.
About the time when we first knew that Turkey would join the Germanic powers came the news that the “Capitulations” had been revoked. As is generally known, foreigners formerly enjoyed the protection of their respective consuls. The Turkish Government, under the terms of the so-called Capitulations, or agreements, had no jurisdiction over an American, for instance, or a Frenchman, who could not be arrested without the consent of his consul. In the Ottoman Empire, where law and justice are not at a premium, such protection was a wholesome and necessary policy.
The revoking of the Capitulations was a terrible blow to all the Europeans, meaning, as it did, the practical abolition of all their rights. Upon the Arabs it acted like an intoxicant. Every boot-black or boatman felt that he was the equal of the accursed Frank, who now had no consul to protect him; and abuses began immediately. Moreover, as if by magic, the whole country became Germanized. In all the mosques, Friday prayers were ended with an invocation for the welfare of the Sultan and “Hadji Wilhelm.” The significance of this lies in the fact that the title “Hadji” can be properly applied only to a Moslem who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca and kissed the sacred stone of the Kaaba. Instant death is the penalty paid by any Christian who is found within that enclosure: yet Wilhelm II, head of the Lutheran faith, stepped forward as “Hadji Wilhelm.” His pictures were sold everywhere; German officers appeared; and it seemed as if a wind of brutal mastery were blowing.
The dominant figure of this movement in Palestine was, without doubt, the German Consul at Haifa, Leutweld von Hardegg. He traveled about the country, making speeches, and distributing pamphlets in Arabic, in which it was elaborately proved that Germans are not Christians, like the French or English, but that they are descendants of the prophet Mohammed. Passages from the Koran were quoted, prophesying the coming of the Kaiser as the Savior of Islam.
ROAD-MAKING AND DISCHARGE