President Joe Biden
President Joe BidenWhite House

Officials in the Biden administration have discussed the option of negotiating a unilateral deal with Hamas to release five Americans being held hostage in Gaza if negotiations between the terror organization and Israel fall through, NBC News reported on Monday citing two current senior U.S. officials and two former senior U.S. officials.

According to the report, in such a case, the negotiations would leave out Israel and be conducted through Qatari mediators, as current talks have been.

White House officials declined to comment.

The officials told NBC News that they did not know what the US would give Hamas in exchange for the release of American hostages. However, according to them, Hamas is likely to gain from such a deal since it further harms US-Israel ties and puts additional pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One of the former officials noted that administration officials discussed the possibility that the US cutting a unilateral deal with Hamas might pressure Netanyahu to agree to a version of the current cease-fire proposal.

Speaking to the Israeli Kan News, a senior American official denied the report, calling it 'nonsense.'

Rachel Goldberg-Polin and Jon Polin, the parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a US citizen who is being held in Hamas captivity, responded to reports: “We have seen the reports that the US administration is considering negotiating directly with Hamas on freeing US citizens from captivity in Gaza. We welcome any negotiations that will lead to the return home of our loved ones who have been in captivity for over 8 months. We pray that every family with hostages will be reunited with their loved ones imminently."