UK community calls on Qatar to bring the hostages home

Hundreds demonstrated outside the Qatari Embassy in London on Sunday afternoon


A delegation of Jews, Muslims and Christians has delivered a letter to the Qatari ambassador, saying that he has “a moral responsibility” to apply pressure on Hamas to release the hostages.

Delivered by hand by Reverend Hayley Ace, co-founder of Christian Action Against Antisemitism on behalf of Jewish activist Yochy Davis and Iranian British activist Afshin Payravi, representing the 710 Human Chain Project, the letter to HE Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah stated: “We implore you, in the strongest terms possible, to do everything within your power to pressure Hamas to release the hostages immediately. Financial sanctions, diplomatic pressure, whatever it takes – the time for complacency is over. The suffering of these hostages and their families cannot continue unchecked.”

Signatories were “bound by a common humanity that compels us to stand up against injustice and tyranny”, said the letter, adding that “[there] can be no ceasefire, no semblance of peace, until every hostage is released unharmed.”

Payravi, who is the director of the Association of Iranian Human Rights and Allies, said he had signed the letter “because Israel has the right to exist and defend itself against all this terrorist activity coming from the Iranian Republic. I feel it is my duty to support Israel in its fight.”

The hand delivery of the letter took place during a rally outside the Qatari Embassy on Sunday afternoon, which saw several hundred British Jews, Israelis, Muslims – including a number of British Iranians – and Christians come together to call for the Gulf state to push through a deal which would see the release of the hostages held in Gaza.

On October 7, when 1,200 people were murdered by Hamas terrorists, a further 250 were taken into Gaza as hostages. 132 remain captive there, including women, girls, elderly people and a baby.

Negotiations are currently underway for a deal which would see the release of between 20 and 33 hostages in exchange of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and a temporary ceasefire. However, Hamas is demanding a full ceasefire and Israel is refusing to drop its plans to attack Rafah.

One of the speakers, Millet Ben Haim, 28, a survivor of the Nova massacre, said that she was addressing the Qatar embassy, “not as an embassy, but as human beings. We can end the suffering now. Bring them home.”

Giving an emotional speech, Ben Haim, who had been due to start a university course, but was now devoting her time to travelling around the world sharing her testimony, said that she watched as friends were mowed down by terrorists with RPGs. She survived by running for two hours and then hiding in bushes for a further six before being rescued.

“I will be forever haunted by how it feels to have the memory of watching friends being murdered and knowing that you could be next…When they murdered another Israeli guy hiding hear us and when we saw two terrorists, I remember that we stopped breathing because it was very clear that if they saw us, they would rape us. It was a miracle they didn’t find us.”

Michael Marlowe, whose son Jake was murdered at the Nova Festival on October 7, said that he and his wife Lisa’s hearts had been “ripped out” by his murder and that on learning that his son had been killed, “my world collapsed”.

Appealing to Qatar to release the hostages, who include Shlomi Ziv, 40, a close friend of Jake’s, Michael said: “It is barbaric that there are still hostages more than 200 days later…Who keeps dead bodies of hostages as bargaining tools? Do not fail humanity.”

British Iranian social media activist Lily Moo, who has been a staunch supporter of Israel and the UK Jewish community since October 7, also spoke, saying: “We are still suffering, and we are still in pain.”

She implored Qatar: “If you still have one foot in civilised society, listen to us and bring them home now.”

Her calls were echoed by Mahyar Touci from YouTube channel Touci TV, who told how his mother had fled Iran, but that living in the UK, she was “now terrified because people [she] tried to escape from are following [her]”.

He warned: “Jews are just the first target. They are not going to stop…they will come for the liberals who are going to the pro-Palestinian rallies.”

Orit Eyal-Fibeesh, one of the organisers from 710 Human Chain told the JC: “It’s crunch time because a deal is on the table and if we miss it, it might not happen again. Qatar has the money and all the leverage to get the deal done. It’s enough with the excuses. There is no time.”

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