Israel had yet to accept the deal, which would allegedly involve the release of some Palestinians jailed in Israel. It is expected to reach a decision sometime Wednesday.
While Israel and U.S. leaders had balked at a ceasefire in the conflict, a three-to-five-day pause in the fighting appears to be a possibility. Israel bombarded Gaza in recent weeks in a campaign that has killed thousands, left many more without access to resources or care and decimated hospitals in the region.
American officials had signaled on Wednesday that such a deal was coming to fruition, with a number of reports suggesting that the two sides were “close” to a deal.
The total number of hostages represents just 20 percent of those taken captive during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants on Israel. Ten Americans are among those believed to still be in the terrorist group’s clutches. The group had previously released two American hostages, Judith and Natalie Raanan.
A similar arraignment for the same number of hostages was reportedly rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the early days of the conflict.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “discussed at length ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, including many children and a number of Americans,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday.
The condition that Hamas would only release women and children rules out the prospect that all American hostages would be returned under this deal.
The U.S. Treasury Department that same day issued a third round of sanctions against Hamas, NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.
“Together with our partners, we’re going to be decisively moving to degrade Hamas’s financial infrastructure, cut them off from outside funding, and block the new funding channels that they seek to finance their terrorism,” Kirby said.
“But as we have been clear on multiple occasions, Hamas actions did not lessen Israel’s responsibilities to protect civilians in Gaza,” Kirby added.
Asked on Tuesday about a possible deal to release dozens of hostages for a five-day pause in fighting, Kirby declined to “get into the details.”
Gaza’s Health Ministry has reported over 11,100 deaths since the start of the war, a total that is largely made up of women, children and newborns, according to the United Nations. Israel reported that roughly 1,200 people were killed in the Oct. 7 attack.