WASHINGTON — Jewish organizations in the area will demonstrate in front of the Qatari embassy in the U.S. capital on Thursday to protest the Emirate's support for Hamas, the Islamist terror organization controlling Gaza. The demonstrators will also call on Qatar to use its influence over Hamas to push for returning the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two Israeli soldiers who died in the 2014 Gaza War and whose remains have been held there ever since.
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The demonstration is being organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and will include speeches by Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, all of whom will protest Qatar's alleged support for Hamas' attempt to use the remains of the soldiers to force a prisoner swap with Israel. Ron Halber, the executive director of the organization, stated that "Human remains are not bargaining chips. Qatar must insist that Hamas unconditionally and immediately release these slain soldiers to their families for proper burials."
Qatar has recently hired a leading public relations firm in New York as part of an attempt to improve its image in the United States, particularly within the Jewish community. The firm tried to organize meetings between the Qatari emir and leaders of Jewish American organizations on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week, but most of the Jewish leaders did not agree to meet after the attempt became public.
The PR strategist hired by Qatar, Nick Muzin, is a Jewish Republican based in the New York area who has worked for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the past. Meanwhile, in Washington, the PR firm Bluelight Strategies, which is affiliated with the Democratic parts of the Jewish community, is working with the Qatari opposition, which is fighting to change the nature of the regime in their country. The firm recently organized a conference in London devoted to criticism of the current government in Qatar and discussions of future political developments in the country.