Supermodel Bella Hadid spent her Saturday in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, voicing her support for Palestinians in Gaza. Bella, whose father is Palestinian, joined a crowd of thousands, wearing a keffiyeh and waving a Palestinian flag. She posted photos and footage from the march — which stretched over hours, and eventually stopped traffic on Interstate 278 — with the caption, “It’s free Palestine til Palestine is free!!!”
“The way my heart feels,” she wrote. “To be around this many beautiful, smart, respectful, loving, kind and generous Palestinians all in one place … it feels whole! We are a rare breed!!!”
Over the weekend, Israeli forces carried out what the New York Times called “the single deadliest airstrike yet on Gaza” in the past seven days of bombings. Palestinian health authorities report that at least 33 people died in Sunday morning’s attacks on Gaza City, while 50 more sustained injuries. So far, 12 Israeli people have reportedly died in the rocket fire. Among Palestinians, however, the death toll has reached at least 192 people (including 58 children) since Monday, when long-standing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians boiled over. The recent escalation followed Israeli police raids on al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, protests against the impending eviction of six Palestinian families from their homes, and increasingly violent policing of Palestinian Muslims during Ramadan. Hamas — the militant group that controls Gaza and that Israel and the U.S., among others, view as a terrorist organization — threatened action if the aggression did not abate and, after particularly brutal police clashes last weekend, began firing rockets at Israel on Monday. The Israeli Defense Forces then responded with bombs of their own.
This weekend saw protests in support of Palestinians in cities across the world, massive crowds gathering in London, Paris, and Mexico City, and in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and other parts of the U.S., to demand an end to the violence. Ahead of New York City’s march, Bella, a vocal proponent of Palestinian rights, also posted a throwback photo from a protest in London she attended four years ago.
“This is not about religion. This is not about spewing hate on one or the other,” she wrote in the caption, having previously clarified that she will not tolerate “people talk[ing] badly about Jewish people through all of this.”
“I stand with my Palestinian brothers and sisters,” she wrote. “I will protect and support you as best as I can.”