David Barnea
David BarneaYossi Zeliger/TPS

Israel has proposed that Hamas senior leaders could leave Gaza as part of a broader ceasefire agreement, two officials familiar with the ongoing international discussions told CNN on Monday.

The extraordinary proposal, which has not been previously reported, would give safe passage out of Gaza for top Hamas leaders who orchestrated the October 7 attack and could weaken Hamas’ grip on the Gaza Strip while also allowing Israel to continue tracking down high-value targets abroad.

Israel’s suggestion that Hamas leaders could leave Gaza, though unlikely to be accepted by Hamas, has been discussed as part of broader ceasefire negotiations at least twice in recent weeks, according to CNN. One of those times was last month in Warsaw by Mossad Director David Barnea, and then again this month in Doha with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said one official familiar with the discussions.

Barnea raised the proposal for Hamas leaders to leave Gaza during a meeting with US CIA Director Bill Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, who has acted as an intermediary with Hamas, according to CNN.

The official familiar with the discussions in the meetings said it was then brought up again when Blinken was in the Qatari capital earlier this month.

In that meeting Blinken was told by al Thani that the Israeli idea “would never work,” the official said, in part because of distrust by Hamas that Israel would in fact end its operations against Hamas in Gaza even after its leadership left.

The US State Department, CIA and the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office all declined to comment.

Earlier on Monday, Axios reported that Israel has given Hamas a proposal, through Qatari and Egyptian mediators, that includes up to two months of a pause in the fighting as part of a multi-phase deal that would include the release of all remaining hostages held in Gaza.

Israeli officials said they are waiting for a response from Hamas but stressed they are cautiously optimistic about the ability to make progress in the coming days.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said earlier this month that the US is not currently in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza.

"Nothing has changed about our view that we don't support a ceasefire at this time. There's no change to that because we don't believe that benefits anybody but Hamas. We continue to support humanitarian pauses,” he told reporters, after President Joe Biden said that he has been "quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza."