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Abstract

A principal goal of this study has been to assess the impact of social distance on attitudes towards Palestinian resettlement using comprehensive cross-cultural survey research. The results are clear and consistent for all Lebanese sub-groups. Social distance is a significant predictor of attitudes toward resettlement for all six sub-groups examined. Specifically, social distance is inversely and consistently associated with unfavorable attitudes toward the prospect of the permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. These findings indicate on one hand, that the majority of Sunnis and Druze respondents endorse communal ties with Palestinians and approve their permanent economic, social and political integration. However, social distance influence political attitudes toward Palestinian resettlement, namely in the case of Christian and Shii groups. Hence, for most Lebanese the question is about their own political survival not Palestinian resettlement If the actual perceptions stand, resettlement will create a potential for communal conflict and will affect the social cohesion of the society.

Author Bio(s)

Simon G. Haddad is an associate professor of political science at The Notre-Dame University, Lebanon. He is the author of more than 20 articles in academic journals such as the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. He is working on a book on the Islamic Revival in Lebanon in collaboration with Hilal Khashan.

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