Gigi Hadid
Gigi Hadid, seen here on the red carpet at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: AFP / Valery HACHE AFP / Valery HACHE

Palestinian-American model Gigi Hadid has come under fire for her latest comments on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

Hadid is being criticised for her now-deleted Instagram post, in which she accused Israel of keeping children as prisoners of war. She went on to claim that Israel had "killed, tortured, and abducted Palestinians for years and years and years before October 7".

Gaza-based Hamas attacked Israel with a barrage of some 2,000–5,000 missiles on October 7. Hamas brutally massacred 1,400 Israelis (mostly civilians) and took over 200 hostages in the surprise assault.

The post by the 28-year-old supermodel also featured an image of Ahmed Almanasra, a Palestinian youth arrested by Israeli authorities when he was 13 years old.

Almanansara and his brother were arrested in 2015 for stabbing an Israeli security guard and another young boy. Almanasra was intially given a sentence of 12 years in prison before it was eventually reduced to 9.5 years.

Hadid has claimed that he "has endured solitary confinement despite his severe health condition".

The post comes amid a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas that has resulted in the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners. However, it did not go down well with social media users, who asked her modelling agency to sever ties with her.

Hadid has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause and has not shied away from slamming Israel for bombing Gaza. She has also reportedly received death threats for her stance on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Her father, Mohamed Anwar Hadid, was born into a Palestinian Muslim family in 1948 in Nazareth. Gigi and her sister, Bella Hadid, are half-Palestinian and half-Dutch. They also have a brother named Anwar Hadid, who is an actor and a producer.

Their father and his family had to flee Palestine due to the 1947–1949 War, according to a Washington Post profile. The family had to walk all the way to the Lebanese border to escape violence.

The family lived in Greece, Syria, and Tunisia before moving to the United States when Mohamed Hadid was 14 years old. In 2015, he shared an Instagram post wherein he gave details about his family and life.

"I was only about 18 months old. After we were expelled from our beloved #Palestine into the Syrian refugee camps... My dad got a brief job at the University of Damascus in #Syria...Thank you #Syria for taking us in. And thank you America for allowing All of us to realize our dreams ..."

Earlier this month, several media reports claimed that Gigi Hadid's sister Bella had been replaced with Israeli model May Tager for its latest ad campaign.

However, no official statement was issued by any of the parties involved in the controversy. A report by the Associated Press claimed that Hadid's contract with the brand had ended long before the latest conflict and that Tager had featured in Dior campaigns in the past as well.

Bella, too, has been vocal about her support for Palestine. In an Instagram post, she wrote: "I've been sent hundreds of death threats daily; my phone number has been leaked; and my family has felt to be in danger. But I cannot be silenced any longer. Fear is not an option," she wrote in an Instagram post recently.

"My heart is bleeding with pain from the trauma I am seeing unfold, as well as the generational trauma of my Palestinian blood," she added.

Several celebrities have expressed support for Palestine. Professional boxer and model Youndes Bendijima and Swedish singer Zara Larsson took to Instagram to condemn the West for ignoring what led to the horrific attack.

While several others have been vocal about their support of Israel. Last month, Oscar-winning filmmaker Quentin Tarantino also paid a visit to an Israeli base in an attempt to boost the Israel Defence Forces' morale.

On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called for an end to "murderous propaganda".