Attitudes to the FutureHaving examined briefly how Palestinians assess the course of their lives so far, how do the various sectors of the Palestinian population see the future? Have the experiences of the past made Palestinians basically pessimistic or optimistic in outlook? Do they feel the lives of their children will be better or worse than their own? Here the "no answer" category is higher since many respondents insist that the fate of their children is in God's hands.
Table 9.17 Do you think the lives of your children will be better than your own? (Assessment of the future)
The picture is one of a relative confidence and belief in the future. As
women are more positive in the assessment of their own lives, they are also
more hopeful concerning the lives of their children.
Table 9.18 Male non-refugees' assessment of the future by generations
Among the non-refugee population the young are more or less as optimistic
as their parents and grandparents. Moreover, very few non-refugees seem
to believe that the future will remain more or less like today. Among refugees,
however, the contrasts are more marked. The youngest generation of male
camp refugees are significantly more optimistic than their grandfathers.
However, the general optimism of the older generations seems curbed by the
some 22% who seem to believe, in resignation, that the future will be mostly
a replay of the present. 25% of the generation which is most negative in
the appraisal of their own lives seem also the most pessimistic regarding
Table 9.19 Male camp refugees' assessment of the future by generations
The data indicates that this general sense of hope and belief that Palestinians
have in the future is independent of the family's wealth or the individual's
political or religious convictions. A general sense of encouragement also
seems evenly distributed through all regions of the occupied territories.
The refugee camps taken as a whole are only distinct in that their residents
have a slightly stronger expectation that the status quo will continue (9%
for the camps versus 5% in general). The only marked distinctions found
relate to the differing attitudes of men and women in the three regions.
Table 9.20 Assessment of the future by gender and region