Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked senior cabinet ministers on Thursday to approve the release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, a gradual pullout from five West Bank cities and a joint cease-fire declaration with the Palestinians at a historic Mideast summit next week.
Momentum for a cease-fire announcement and other measures received a major boost Wednesday after Egypt unexpectedly offered to host a summit of regional leaders.
Tuesday's summit at Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik is to be hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and Jordan's King Abdullah will also attend.
In Thursday's meeting, Sharon asked six senior ministers to approve a series of steps ahead of the summit.
In addition to the prisoner release and a gradual West Bank troop withdrawal, Israel would also agree to stop hunting fugitives, provided they sign a pledge to halt attacks and hand over weapons.
Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz told the ministers the military plans to withdraw gradually from five West Bank towns, starting with Jericho, followed by Bethlehem, Qalqiliya and Tulkarem.
Ramallah, the Palestinians' centre of government, would be last, participants said.
Mofaz emphasised that all the measures are reversible, apparently addressing concerns by hawkish ministers.
Later on Thursday, Sharon aide Dov Weisglass and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat were to meet to finalise the summit's agenda.
In Ramallah, Palestinian Prime minister Ahmed Qureia met European Union representative to the Middle East Martin Schultz and briefed him on the latest developments between Israel and the Palestinians.
And at the Rafah terminal in the Gaza strip, Palestinian policemen crossed the border to Egypt to take part in training that will allow them to deploy Palestinian forces in Gaza Strip anticipating the Israeli withdrawal from the area by mid 2005.
Palestinians and Israelis both said they expected the summit to produce a truce ending more than four years of violence.
A joint declaration of a cessation of violence is one of the first requirements in the internationally backed Road Map peace plan, which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of this year.