What Happened in Gaza
November 7, 2023
There are more than 150 ethnic and tribal wars happening in the world today. One of the worst set of encounters just happened in Israel and Gaza, and those events have been highly visible and important and relevant to us all.
Instinctive Behavior in Gaza
We just had an extremely important, very powerful, and highly visible set of events happen in the State of Israel and for the Palestinians who live in Gaza and who are ethnically linked to the Hamas group who just attacked, damaged, and killed Israeli people who lived next to the Gaza territory — and who did what they did as terrorists because of inter group anger and inter group hatred — and deeply felt inter group animosity between the actual groups who currently live in that portion of the world and who were there on that evil, damaging, and horrible day.
More than 1500 terrorists from the Palestinian group in Gaza broke through the barriers into the Israeli neighborhoods and living areas adjacent to Gaza. Those attackers murdered more than 1400 people in direct attacks there. They also kidnapped over 200 people and took them into Gaza as hostages.
We know exactly what happened. It was actually recorded as it happened, and we have the recordings.
The videos and photographs available from the assault show beatings, beheadings, mutilations, rapes and sexual abuses, and collective and mass and targeted gunfire done by celebrating assailants into crowds and homes of unarmed people. Some of the videos and photographs clearly show gleeful, joyful, exuberant, and even jubilant murders and killings that were done by people on that day and in that setting who clearly had a deep and intense hatred for the people they were killing.
The murders were clearly done by people from one group to those from another. There was nothing in that day and in that situation and setting that was about any personal behaviors and motivations or personal and individual responses by the attackers to the people on the other side of that killing process.
People from one group killed people from the other group and they did it based on the group they were in.
What does that tell us about Gaza?
What does it tell us about who we are as people in the world we live in today?
We’re all creatures of instincts.
We have deep seated and deeply embedded instincts that guide major portions of our lives. We build cultures to help us achieve our instinctive behaviors and we tend to be deeply committed at an intellectual and emotional level to achieving and actualizing the cultures we create in every setting.
We have instincts to be territorial and hierarchical — and to protect, support, and defend our families and our groups in our settings.
Every group has a hierarchy. We can feel significant discomfort, anxiety, and even stress if we don’t have a hierarchy in place for our setting or our group. We have a sense of family and group territory and turf. We all feel that our own turf is the rightful and legitimate turf for our group, and that we should defend, protect, and relate to our territory and our turf as a group.
We Divide the World into Us and Them
We divide the world into Us and Them at a deeply instinctive level. We think very differently about who we define as Us versus who we define as Them.
We tend to be supportive and protective of our Us in any setting. We tend to be distrustful, suspicious, wary, and generally hostile to whoever we define to be Them.
We tend to be willing to fight for our us. That willingness to fight for our us defines and divides major portions of our world today.
More than 150 settings in the world currently include ethnic and tribal groups existing in a state of conflict with one another. People in all of those settings are doing damage to each other with those sets of differentiations in place and the people doing damage feel entirely legitimate in those actions and behaviors.
Every multitribal nation is at war with itself at some level. It’s very easy to see that behavior once you learn to see it.
Syria has three major ethnic groups who’ve been disliking each other since the beginning of time. That dislike and those inter group conflicts will be there as long as those groups occupy that space and Syria exists as a nation.
Nigeria has several very clear ethnic groups who all dislike each other. They do battle with each other and they all have people in their group who believe they are heroes for having those positions and for that conflicted behavior, on their part, relative to the other group there.
Turkey has the Kurds who feel like they are a captive tribe in the context of that country. The Kurds have strong reasons to hold that opinion of their status, because the government of Turkey wants to ban their language and take away their self-governance status in all the places within Turkey where they’ve managed to achieve any level of autonomy for their group over time.
Kurds have similar issues in Syria and Iraq. They fight to maintain their tribal culture and positioning and they’re often in opposition to the dominant ethnic group or tribe in each of those settings.
Anyone who refers to the Kurdish issues as being political or ideological, or even situational, clearly doesn’t have a sense of what is actually happening in any of those settings.
Great Britain has Irish, Scottish, and Welsh groups who all have a sense of separate identity from the English tribe that’s been based in London — and who’s been the dominant group there for a number of years — but that long-standing dominance by the tribe in London hasn’t caused the Irish to stop being Irish, or the Welsh to stop being Welsh, or the Scottish tribe to stop being Scotts, and to disappear or lose identity as a culture and as a group in any of those settings because of that dominant status by the English.
It's possible to be functionally multitribal inside a country and not be at war or in a state of conflict inside those boundaries, but it’s extremely rare and unlikely to happen in most multitribal countries. Groups everywhere have those same patterns of behavior toward other groups. They all have group members who feel like heroes and warriors of rightful and legitimate group destiny when they damage the warriors from the other group, and when they do conflicted and negative things to the other group in those settings.
The tribes of Syria include the currently dominant Alawite tribe that does constant and intentional ethnic cleansing against the local Arab and Kurdish tribes in that country, and has sent millions of Syrians into unhappy exile in both the Middle East and Europe on a purely tribal basis. The dominant army in Syria never drops their well known, destructive, damaging, and highly lethal and explosive barrel bombs into the Alawite neighborhoods in that country.
China has absolutely clear inter group tribal conflict with Tibet, where they do a form of ethnic cleansing; with Inner Mongolia, where they do another version of ethnic cleansing that includes making the language of the group disappear; and with the Uyghur people, who also have significant religious differences and alliances as a group and who face constant pressure to disappear into the central Han Ethnic group with their own multilevel ethnic cleansing agenda. The Uighurs might have more than a million people in Chinese prisons today for purely tribal reasons.
Ethiopia has multiple local tribal groups at perpetual and clearly anti-tribal war with each other. Somalia has had some of the bloodiest intertribal wars in the world. Those settings have very low chances of their groups blending into peaceful alignment. They hate each other at the group level and the leader and warriors of each group feel very motivated to damage the people they hate.
Cantons Can Work
Switzerland has done the best job of dealing with those multiethnic and multitribal issues in a structured and civilized way within its boundaries, and they’ve done it while maintaining separate identities for each group by making the group identity and group turf a tool, as well as a trigger, for instinctive behavior.
The Swiss couldn’t be more multitribal. There is no Swiss language or actual Swiss tribe. The Swiss don’t exist as a group, but they’ve managed to function as a nation by aligning rather than fighting.
The country has three major tribes and they each maintain their own tribal language, tribal culture, and tribal control over their own turf.
This tribal turf approach in Switzerland is known as “Cantons.”
Cantons are a very useful organizational model for ethnic groups who want to maintain their tribal functionality and identity and still function in the context of a country.
The Swiss have German, French, and Italian speaking cantons. They each have major levels of self-governance and cultural expectations for their own group.
The Swiss don’t pretend that they’re identical, integrated, melded, or cloned sets of people in that national structure or model. They celebrate their differences as groups. They celebrate their Peaceful alignment in very civilized, well-structured, and intentional ways. They’ve managed to create a functioning nation with a national name, and collective political national functionality, that includes all of those clearly separate groups as separate groups.
The Swiss don’t feel a need to be (or pretend to be) something they aren’t. They’ve used that model of aligned cantons for a very long time in very effective national and tribal ways.
A few years ago, a minister of health for the entire country of Switzerland decided to have a shared care experience that included all three groups at a full level of blending and alignment. He decided to create a national children’s hospital that he thought could be one of the best in the world. He lost enthusiasm for the idea when one of the very first speakers, a mother at one of the very first meetings, told him and the group that she would let her son die before being treated by a German Speaking doctor.
She was clear and she was persuasive.
That particular hospital didn’t happen.
The beauty of the Swiss Canton model is that they didn’t need to stop providing world class care for their people in any of their care sites, but provided that care without changing the language issues for any of the care sites. The cantons each got to choose their own language for their settings, and the care sites live peacefully and cooperatively with that reality and approach — with separate cultures for those issues in each setting.
Canada has done something similar.
The French language issues resemble the Swiss language patterns in parts of Quebec. That follows and reflects a similar multitribal, instinctive pathway approach for Canadians, with the exception that the Canadians actually expect everyone in each and all of their sites to know and use both languages. The Swiss only insist on each person in each setting knowing the one language relevant to that particular piece of turf.
There are railroad lines in Switzerland where the distance between the tracks changes when the line crosses into a different canton jurisdiction and turf. They say they didn’t want to be invaded by trains from the other groups when they built those tracks. They made it very hard to do that by changing the track at that point in the journey.
Dividing Into Separate Nations Also Can Work
It’s also possible to deal with the long-standing patterns of internal divisions within a country by simply and actually splitting the country into parts that allow separate tribal identity and control at a national level for each piece.
That happened in Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.
That very direct approach of splitting into separate nations has worked well for those settings.
The people in those often-conflicted settings who had major internal tribal instinct issues that frequently created conflict and negative experiences for many of the people simply split the tribes into their historic nations and made them independent of one another.
The Czechs and the Slovaks each kept their own language when they split the old multigroup country into now very peaceful parts by tribe. The tribes in Yugoslavia who’d been in conflict for a very long time stopped killing each other when they divided into separate countries and had each country run their own territory and turf after the division.
Each of those countries had their own alpha leadership in place for each group with their ancestorial languages and cultures used in each setting. Those leaders all needed to support the process as a pathway to Peace, instead of using it as an opportunity to continue to fight as groups, because all groups look to their leaders to see what they should be doing in any setting relative to all of these issues.
Alpha Instincts Are Particularly Important for Group Trajectories
Alpha instincts can be extremely important in inter group settings.
Alpha instincts have a major impact on inter group behavior everywhere. People often don’t understand how much impact those particular instincts have on our settings.
Our hierarchy instincts can create, trigger, support, and even exacerbate some of the very worst inter group conflicts. Alpha leaders in every setting tend to have the full set of alpha instincts in gear and they far too often create conflicts with other groups to maintain and strengthen their own power within their own group.
That pattern of behavior happens in multiple settings.
When we look at the specifics of the current set of inter group conflicts, we can often see an alpha leader gaining support with their own group by exacerbating the conflict.
It’s sometimes useful to see and understand very similar behaviors (and patterns of behavior) with other settings and living groups who also have hierarchical instincts.
Lion prides and wolf packs both have alpha instincts that clearly steer their group’s behavior. Alpha lions very much want to be Alpha, and they sometimes fight to the death to maintain that status with their group.
That same pattern exists in human hierarchies.
When you look at actual patterns of behavior — including the current situation in Israel — it’s very uncommon for political, business, and academic leaders with alpha status and power to ever simply give up that status and surrender their often highly addictive alpha power very easily.
The alpha leader instincts also tie in some key ways to turf instincts. It’s obvious, in multiple settings, that alpha leaders don’t like to give up group turf that they perceive to be theirs as a group.
One of the reasons that the United Nations does a bad job of helping all of the nations that don’t make ethnic sense at any level in their current form to break into pieces that make more sense from the destiny and the functional agendas and alignments of the people in a setting — is that when you look at who’s actually deciding the policy for the United Nations — it’s the current heads of the countries who make those decisions and those leaders all have their alpha and territorial instincts in full gear. They don’t want to give up any turf.
It’s hard to get the President of Spain to support; and believe at a generic, intellectual, or worldwide conceptual and ethical level; in actual territorial self-determination for the local people in every setting when that’s just exactly what the people of Barcelona want very badly today in his country. No President of Spain is ever likely to think that’s a good idea and allow those people to have and control their own turf and pull away from Spain.
Those patterns are easy to understand and very easy to see when you know they exist.
The most famous antiwar piece of art in the world might be Pablo Picasso’s Guernica painting. Most people who see the horror, sadness, disagreement, dismay, pain, and sorrow that he built brilliantly into that work of art don’t recognize or know that he was actually painting a tribal conflict.
The local people of Barcelona — with their own language and their own history — wanted to be free from Spain and the Spanish tribe who ran the Spanish army as an extension of their dominant tribe that were actually using German bombs to kill civilians in that setting for the very first time in our history as attacks from the air on unarmed civilians and nonmilitary people.
The use of bombs to kill civilians in that setting was meant to keep those civilians from achieving the tribal goals that their alpha leaders had set for them and their group.
We can see those patterns everywhere we look at multitribal conflicted settings.
So: What does that all tell us about Gaza and Israel?
We Saw Some of Those Behaviors in Gaza
We just saw evil and destruction and horror from the terrorists from Gaza rain down unexpectedly on those Israeli people. We documented what happened in that setting and we know who was killing who for those sets of people.
The Gaza attacks tell us that the people of Israel can know that those behaviors and those emotions can happen again and that those two groups have a hatred level that isn’t going away after Hamas is through with the current conflict, attacks, and battles.
Hamas will be badly damaged relatively soon. Many will die and many will disappear. But we also know that there are some Palestinians who aren’t going away, and those sets of people are a permanent part of the reality for that setting.
We know that any long-term solution for that area and those people has to reflect that reality and the inter group thought processes and instincts that they trigger.
We know what those instinctive behaviors are, and we know what they will be, because we can see them in 150 settings. We need to build those sets of instincts and behaviors into our solutions and our approaches for that area going forward.
It’s a multitribal setting that clearly needs some level of a multitribal solution.
The Israelis are going to punish and harm the Hamas people that they can reach and affect, but that’s an immediate and current time frame and activity. It doesn’t solve the underlying inter group problems for that area for the long term. That immediate response doesn’t create safety and security for either group over time.
The people who live in those areas and who want a future that gives Palestinians more control over their territory and their destiny are going to continue to have that goal and agenda. That set of issues will spring up in various ways in that setting, because it should be a right for people from every group to be safe and secure — and to have a future where they choose to live that that allows them to be safe and respected for living there.
No other nation is going to accept significant numbers of Palestinian refugees, because those same tribal instincts apply to every tribe.
The other tribes in that area of the world want to control their own destiny and their own turf. They don’t want their destiny undermined by large numbers of refugees from any setting.
Europe is currently full of refugees who are often very unhappy with the places they are now living. Each of those countries in Europe with angry refugees is going to have to build a pathway to local inter group Peace that reflects that package of instincts for all of those sets of people.
Most European leaders don’t have a clue about what they’re facing or how hard the path to Peace will be in each of those settings if they don’t recognize the realities they’re now in and the trajectories of instinctive and cultural behaviors they’re actually on.
In Israel, we have some short-term decisions to make that can tee up our long-term trajectory.
The Israelis have seen the frightening and extremely ugly joy and the hatred and even the blood-thirsty jubilation that some of the terrorists expressed on those days and hours of invasion. That’s extremely sobering and very grounding. It’s a very legitimate thing for the government of Israel to decide to keep from ever happening again to the Israeli people.
We know what just happened.
That attack changed the balance of the reality of the setting for the next steps. There’s no way that any answer or approach now that Israel can or will accept won’t require iron clad guarantees and very real and highly functional protection against that same risk ever happening for the future of that country.
So as we look at the world around us — and as we learn from the options for inter group interaction and inter group Peace in that setting that are available to us — it seems that there could be some version of a Swiss Canton-like element of respectful local governance for at least some of the land now held and occupied by the Palestinian people inside that macro set of boundaries (for Israel) and that could meet our long-term needs for that space and people.
Some level of the Two State Solution agenda and approach that people have been generically proposing for both Israel and the Palestinians probably needs to happen.
The Hamas mission, approach, purpose, and reason to exist that we saw activated in those attacks by those terrorist from Gaza is evil and hateful. The threat and danger couldn’t be more clear. That evil mission on those issues and those negative goals from Hamas also needs to be unacceptable to the people of Palestine, who we need to be part of that two-state governance solution for the long term for Israel. We need Palestinians in Israel to want Peace to exist there. We need Palestinians who live there to be willing to create Peace for that setting and to believe that their future, and the future of their children, should have Peace as a major component part.
Israel needs residents from both groups to believe that it’s the right thing to do to create some level of Israel Cantons for those people so that there is a legitimate and respectful role for those sets of people in those settings — and so that Israel itself is safe because the people who live there going forward from this point support that set of agreements and approaches and will work to make it happen.
We clearly need the people who will be living there to not hate each other if we actually create Peace for Israel and all of the people who live there.
Win-Win Is Possible
Win-win is possible.
It should be our goal.
We need to decide that we want to create and sustain win-win solutions for everyone, and we need to make win-win our goal and our skill set and our strategy and our agenda and our commitment, and we need to do it in credible and effective ways that can and will and should succeed if we do them well.
We need to believe in a peaceful and beneficial future for Israel and both groups living there.
No key part of that agenda and no part of the necessary safeguards for Israel can be built on trust alone (or on good will as a direction). We know what the underlying motives, emotions, values, and behaviors are for some of those people who stormed through those barricades and who raped, mutilated, and massacred people in that setting. We have no reason to believe that the people who did those deeds and acted in those ways don’t feel exactly that same way today.
When people show us who they actually are, we should believe them.
That’s common sense.
It’s also good judgement.
When evil people show us who they are, we should believe them.
It’s respectful for the entire situation; for everyone living in that area; and for the entire country to believe that some people are exactly what they show us they are, as they did those evil things to the people they killed.
It would be stupid and nonsensical to not build safeguards into the processes to keep those risks and those levels of evil and damaging behaviors from ever emerging again in a way that can threaten the Israeli people.
We need a win-win solution for the entire process that has that safety goal as one of the wins.
Win-win can actually be extremely powerful when we do it well.
Win-win should include great economic success for the Palestinian people who will live in that safe and respectful place within that nation. We live in a world of great wealth, great potential, great resources, great opportunity, and great capability.
Everyone should win if we do this right. The opportunity exists.
We need the Hamas worst, and clearly evil and hateful elements, to be completely eliminated and removed from the expectations for the population who will live there now. We need the people who live there to believe and know that they can, in fact, prosper and thrive in that setting if we do this as well as it can be done.
We want everyone to do well.
The world is a better place for everyone when we all win.
We need the people of Palestine who will be living in that area to commit to a future that creates win-win outcomes for everyone.
We also need to commit to a win-win future that respects each of the winners and makes them equal parts of our agenda in ethical and functional ways.
We need the people who run Israel to commit now to absolute honesty and to clear and heartfelt good intentions for the Palestinians who will go down this path.
We need people in Israel to stop doing things that are just not right in the various settings where some negative interactions with both settings and people happen now. Those negative actions tell Palestinians that their intentions aren’t being respected and supported and enabled as we start from this very deep hole to build mutual trust and Peace in every Israeli and shared Palestinian setting.
It’s a very small and highly visible space. We need everyone to be doing the right things in visible ways to build credibility, momentum, and trust from now on for both groups.
We need the two groups of people to live peacefully and safely in that same proximity for a very long time. We should want and need all of the people who live there to prosper by being there.
We can achieve that goal if we’re very honest about what we’re doing at every level, and if we accept that there’s a new baseline for the interactions and believe it can work if we make it work by doing the right things to make it work.
We need a level of honesty and visibility about what everyone is doing. We need leaders from both groups acting with obvious and visible good will to have it succeed.
We know how bad it can be.
Let’s make it better by doing the right thing and making sure it never gets that bad again in that setting.
That isn’t the outcome that will happen if we don’t manage the current situation well. That level of inter group peace isn’t the pattern that the world is on if we don’t intervene and steer toward the right places in more settings.
One Hundred and Fifty Current Conflicts Exist Now
There are more than 150 inter group and intertribal settings in the world today where the people are damaging each other by group and tribe. We should have the people who lead the setting in Israel to understand why all of those other conflicts are happening in all of those places. We should take different approaches that steer Israel away from the path of inter group conflict that its so obviously on today. We need to create legitimate inter group Peace in the basic Israeli settings.
We will probably need some help in Israel to help make this happen.
The government in America should be a key ally for the process of steering toward win-win future interactions.
The American government should look at this plan and these goals and should bless them and agree to make it happen. The world needs a model. America can help be a part of the solution in multiple settings if we can create successful win-win outcomes here.
That isn’t the path we’re on as a world today for multiple settings.
Paris has streets where there is so much inter group and heavily tribal anger that the police are reluctant to enter the areas. Brussels and even Bonn have settings where local neighborhoods aren’t under police control.
People hate each other by group.
The people who run those countries need to understand what can be done in those settings if they decide to create peaceful inter group interactions there and ultimately get to peace for their people by understanding why they have so many settings where inter group anger is their current status (and probable destiny), and then create win-win strategies for those settings and situations.
We need people to understand what is happening in those settings. We need the people who run those countries to make the right decisions on those paths and create a future where peace is possible and enlightened behavior can be a value and a cultural expectation. It’s the right thing to do and people believe it to be the right path.
We need Israel and Gaza to steer in that direction now. It’s been so horrible in the recent past. It would be wrong not to rise above what just happened and move to safer and saner ground in enlightened and intellectually grounded ways. The alternative to safe ground is the wrong place to be.
The picture of the armored vehicle on the cover of Cusp of Chaosis from Ferguson, Missouri. It was taken during a significant set of instinctive inter group negative interactions that happened in America. It set up some very important learning experiences for us in our own country.
We’re all in need of getting these thoughts, agendas, and strategies into peaceful trajectories in every inter group setting in the world.
Peace. In our time.
Let’s make it happen.