Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that, during his meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel in Tel Aviv, he demanded the return of soldiers and civilians detained in Gaza as soon as possible.

Netanyahu added that he discussed with the head of the Egyptian intelligence mechanisms to prevent the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) from strengthening its military capabilities, and the use of resources that will be directed in the future to support the residents of Gaza.

The discussions focused on establishing a long-term cease-fire and setting up a mechanism for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat participated, who held a lengthy meeting earlier today with the Egyptian intelligence chief on these particular issues.

The Israeli side seeks to link the reconstruction in the Gaza Strip and the passage of humanitarian aid to the release of its captured soldiers, but sources confirm that the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) separates these files.

The Palestinian President discussed with his Egyptian guest the comprehensive calm in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza (communication sites)

Meet the Palestinian President

After his meetings with Israeli officials in Jerusalem, Egyptian intelligence director Abbas Kamel began his talks with President Mahmoud Abbas and members of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

During his meeting with Minister Kamel, the Palestinian President reviewed the developments related to the comprehensive calm in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and reconstruction, as well as the file of the Palestinian national dialogue.

During the meeting, the Palestinian president valued Egypt's positions, efforts and initiative, led by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, to support the Palestinian people and their just cause.

For his part, Minister Abbas Kamel conveyed the greetings of President Sisi to his Palestinian counterpart, and said that Egypt will continue to coordinate and work with the State of Palestine in all steps and initiatives.

Minister Abbas Kamel will return to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz tonight, before heading to Gaza on Monday morning to meet with the leaders of the Palestinian factions there, specifically the leadership of Hamas.

These moves come within the framework of efforts aimed at realizing the Egyptian initiative to establish a ceasefire in Gaza and to establish a mechanism to monitor the implementation of reconstruction projects.

Ashkenazi (left) said he would discuss the mechanisms of calm and the reconstruction of Gaza under international supervision (Reuters)

Cairo talks

On the other hand, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Cairo on a visit to Egypt that lasts a few hours, the first for an Israeli foreign minister to Cairo in 13 years. Ashkenazi met his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry and a number of senior officials.

Upon his arrival in Cairo, the Israeli minister said that he would discuss the mechanisms of calm and the reconstruction of Gaza under international supervision.

He added that he will focus in his talks on Israel's commitment to the priority of returning the Israeli soldiers held by Hamas, as he put it.

These moves come in the wake of a tour by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in the region, last Wednesday and Thursday, which included Israel, the West Bank, Egypt and Jordan, during which he sought to consolidate the cease-fire with the Palestinian factions, and mobilize the international community to advance relief efforts in Gaza.