Prime Minister Rishi Sunak keeps a reminder of the Israeli hostages with him, telling families of those held by Hamas that he keeps a “Bring them home” dog tag in his pocket.
Earlier this week, the delegation met with the PM at 10 Downing Street, telling Sunak of the “torture” they faced as they anxiously waited for news of their relatives.
Stephen Brisley, brother-in-law of hostage Eli Sharabi, who has been held in Gaza for more than four months, said that Sunak told them that he carries a set of “Bring the Home Now” dog tags in his pocket and keeps them on his desk to “remind him of the importance of the hostages.”
In a post on Twitter, Sunak said: “We will continue to do all we can to bring hostages held by Hamas in Gaza safely home.”
Sharone Lifschitz, whose father Oded is being held by Hamas and whose mother Yocheved was released in the first few weeks of the war, said “My mother was released without a deal. She was released for humanitarian reasons. Nothing is stopping Hamas from releasing more hostages.”
“Hamas do not need a deal to release them... they chose to take them; they can choose to release them", she said.
Sharone’s 83-year-old father is frail with complex medical needs and she said there was no evidence that medicine had reached the hostages.
Stephen Brisley said, “It was helpful to be able to look the Prime Minister in the eye and look the Qatari Minister in the eye and make that personal connection so that they are really aware that this is about families”.
“Both the British government and the Qataris have made it very clear that they are focusing all their efforts on prioritising the safe return of the hostages.
He added: “We put our trust in the Prime Minister [and] we put our trust in the Qataris to make good on their promises... We need them to repay that trust, the only way for them to do that is to get results.”
Raz Matalon, brother-in-law of Eli Sharabi, said he had seen what “the failure of everyone” looked like when he watched the video of Yossi Sharabi’s execution. The video of Yossi’s murder followed a sequence of teased announcements from the terror group, where they claimed that they would announce the fate of three Israelis in the clip.
Matalon said Yossi’s wife had not been able to watch the video, but he had watched it and “it was devastating.” He described examining the brutal injurries on Yossi's body that can be seen in the video.
Matalon said Yossi’s murder was a “breaking point for us.” He went on, “Now we know that the worst can happen.”
Lifschitz told the room that her community of Kibbutz Nir Oz has "been uprooted, unearthed, we have been murdered, we have been slaughtered and we have been burnt alive.” She said two members of her kibbutz died last week “of a broken heart”.