Model Gigi Hadid, who is of Palestinian descent, has backtracked from false claims that Israel is the “only country in the world” keeping children as prisoners of war.
Hadid, in a since-deleted Instagram post, had used as an example Palestinian Ahmad Manasra, who was arrested at 13 years old by Israeli police and sentenced to 12 years in prison, later reduced to 9.5 years, for, along with his brother, stabbing a 20-year-old Israeli security guard and a 13-year-old boy in Jerusalem.
Her post came amid the Israel-Hamas hostage ceasefire deal, which extended into its fifth day on Tuesday as Israel swapped hostages held captive by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners. Hamas and other militants are still holding 159 hostages out of the 240 who were seized from southern Israel in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack that ignited the ongoing war. Among them were about 30 children.
Hadid faced backlash over her post for spreading false information and antisemitism, including from Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli and music mogul Scooter Bruan. “I know people mean well but when you say a child was abducted when it turns out it was a teenager who went out and stabbed two random innocent civilians including a 12 year old on camera and then stated ‘I wanted to stab Jews.’ Let’s get our facts right before we post to 78 million people,” wrote Braun, referencing Manasra and Hadid’s follower count.
In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Hadid wrote, “I wanted to show the ways in which international law is being undermined by the Israeli government. In this case, I was trying to highlight how Palestinian children who are arrested by the IDF are often not given the same rights as an Israeli child accused of the same crime would. Unfortunately, I used the wrong example to make that point and I regret that.”
She also retreated to a higher ground when criticizing violence from any and all sides in the current Israel-Hamas war. “My focus was intended to be on human rights issues. That is why I also want to reiterate that attacking any human, which of course includes Jewish people, is NEVER OK. Taking innocent people hostage is NEVER OK. Harming someone BECAUSE they are Jewish is NEVER OK. It is wrong,” Hadid stated.
She argued children, whether Israeli or Palestinian, deserved equal human rights: “A Palestinian child, even if he is accused of a horrific crime, deserves the same rights that an Israeli child would have under the same circumstances.”
Hadid, whose father, Mohamed Hadid, is a Palestinian immigrant and practicing Muslim, made earlier appeals against the terrorizing of innocent people on all sides after the Hamas terrorist organization launched an attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7. She has since been criticized by the Israeli government over her social media posts amid the ongoing war.
The deadly Oct. 7 attack on settlements near the Gaza border led to the deaths of around 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians. That was followed by Israel’s military retaliating against Hamas in the Gaza Strip as part of a formal declaration of war, with a cumulative death toll of around 14,800 Palestinians, according to the latest count from the Ministry of Health in the Hamas-run enclave.
Hadid and her younger sister, Bella Hadid, have a history of supporting the Palestinian cause.