A FUTURE WITHOUT HOPE? PALESTINIAN YOUTH IN LEBANON BETWEEN MARGINALISATION, EXPLOITATION AND RADICALIZATION
This research study presents the main finding of marginalization and exploitation processes related to Palestinian youth in Lebanon. The study was conducted between 2016-2017 in all over Lebanon including Palestinian camps and gatherings. Quantitative facts about the topic are well documented in the study. The methodology was based on three forms of data collection: desktop review, focus groups and in depth interviews with Palestinian youth and stakeholders.
The research is divided into three main chapters:
‘“No future” for Palestinian youth in Lebanon?’ is the first chapter of the report. It will deliberately be pessimistic. It not only describes well-known phenomena such as absence of employment opportunities, job insecurity, school and university dropout, but it also takes into consideration a permanent feeling of exclusion and marginalization among young Palestinians, from private spaces (family, home) to public spaces (streets of Palestinian refugee camps and also Lebanese public spaces).
The second part of the report is focused on the “exit” logic - which constitutes the direct aftermath of the marginalization process described in the first chapter: since the present is so bleak and uncertain, young Palestinians want “to escape”. Political, social and associative actors implemented in the camps identify three dynamics of “exit”: a) emigration, b) drugs and “artificial escapes”, c) violence and radicalization. The “exit” logic also encourages new dynamics of exploitation by smugglers and by factions.
The third part of the report is more optimistic – and should help us to identify positive, concrete and realistic recommendations. Some young Palestinian activists work on a daily basis on social, charity or sporting issues. They maintain a “social tie” and some forms of collective solidarity among Palestinian youth. Political participation and a better integration of young Palestinians in factions and Popular Committees should be promoted. International institutions (UNRWA; UNICEF, or European governments), and also Lebanese institutions such as the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC), are showing real determination to support Palestinian youth in Lebanon and work with them. But sometimes there is a rivalry between their initiatives. Palestinian youth in Lebanon should not be sort of a “market” for international and local donors, competing with each other. On the contrary, the problem is not the absence of initiatives, but rather that positive initiatives are dispersed.