Joe Biden
Joe BidenWhite House

The Biden administration has spent the last week pushing allies in the Middle East to make specific threats to Hamas, as part of an urgent campaign to push the group toward accepting the latest ceasefire and hostage proposal that would pause the fighting in Gaza, CNN reported on Thursday.

US officials have publicly called on the group to accept previous ceasefire proposals on the table, but there has never been an all-out pressure campaign marked by specific asks to individual countries as part of the Biden administration’s push, the report said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has held almost a dozen calls with key players in the region since Friday and other top State Department officials have been intimately involved in the all-hands on deck effort.

According to the CNN report, US officials are urging Qatar, Egypt and Turkey to turn up the heat on Hamas by using multiple pressure points. They’ve asked multiple countries to threaten to freeze the bank accounts of Hamas members and clamp down on their ability to freely travel in the region, according to two US officials. In many cases, members of Hamas have long been able to operate freely despite members of the terror group.

The US has urged Qatar – who allows Hamas to operate a political office in its capital – to declare that it will kick out the terrorist group if they don’t accept the deal, one of those US officials said. After months of telling Hamas that they could risk getting kicked out, Qatar has now actually made that threat, that official said.

US officials privately say that Egypt is putting more pressure on Hamas than they have in the past, but the specifics of exactly how far the Egyptians have gone in their private dialogue with the group remain unclear. They say the US wants Cairo to threaten to cut off the access points from Egypt to Gaza.

According to the proposal outlined by Biden last week, the first phase of the three-phase process would last for six weeks and would include a full and complete ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, and the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian Arab prisoners.

Phase two would see the release of all remaining living hostages, while phase three would encompass "a major reconstruction plan for Gaza," said the President, as well as the repatriation of the remains of deceased hostages to their families.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on Wednesday published a video to his social media account in which he outlined Biden’s three-phase plan and urged Hamas to accept it.

“The only thing standing in between the people of Gaza and an immediate ceasefire is Hamas,” Miller said.

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has rejected the Biden administration's ceasefire proposal, vowing that the terrorist organization will keep its weapons.

Later, however, Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said that Hamas has not yet handed mediators its response to the latest ceasefire proposal and is still studying it.