Chapter 5
The economic adaptation

How have the Palestinian refugees adapted economically in the communities where they live? By economic adaptation we here mean the way the refugees cope with the economic challenges in the state they reside in. Two factors must be analysed in this context: The resources refugees had with them at the time of their flight, and the new economic conditions in the countries where they were to reside. As we have shown, the Palestinians do not constitute a homogenous economic group. Different segments had very unequal economic resources, which they brought with them into the state of Diaspora, thus leaving the refugees with different starting points.

Beside being linked to their socio-economic background, the economic adaptation is closely connected to the new economic conditions in the different types of communities which the refugees have become part of; a camp, a neighbourhood, a region, a country. Economically, the setting in the society where Palestinians settled is a frame of both limits and possibilities. The state's regulations often limit the economic prospects of refugees. At the same time, the high mobility and a wide network of contacts across national borders, primarily through relatives, have enabled Palestinians to adopt certain strategies that enhance their economic possibilities.

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