The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has proposed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the ‘shelf agreement’ the two sides are working on should include an agreement for Israel to take in Palestinian refugees as part of ‘family unification ‘.

Sources reported that Olmert proposed to Abbas that Israel absorb some 20,000 Palestinian refugees a year for 10 years, according to a formula to be determined in advance.

Their absorption would depend on all the other issues being resolved first, and on the Palestinians agreeing that there would not be a ‘right of return’ to Israel and that most refugees would be absorbed in the future Palestinian state.