Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid has slammed news that Israeli police officers charged Palestinian mourners carrying the coffin of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Friday as they led her casket through Jerusalem's Old City. The news was followed by an outpouring of grief and rage on social media over her killing and the subsequent attack, which Hadid called "torture" and "abuse".
Abu Akleh, who had covered Palestinian affairs and the Middle East for more than two decades, was shot while reporting on an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. Palestinian authorities have described Abu Akleh's killing as an assassination by Israeli forces. Al Jazeera in its news reports has also said she was shot by Israeli forces.
On May 14, the Victoria Secret model took to Instagram and asked how someone can watch this and not scream in "rage and cry painful tears", how no one sees their mothers, fathers, grandfathers, sisters and brothers in the eyes of Palestinians.
Hadid has been very vocal on social media in support of Palestinians and the cruelty against them. The 25-year-old model wrote, "Not only to watch a veteran like Shireen be disrespected and thrown around like this, on her way from the hospital to the church, for the last time to Rest in Peace. But also to watch our mourning elderly and people be slammed around, pushed down, scared for their lives! I lay here feeling helpless and there are people really sitting behind their computer screens trying to validate this! Make excuses for it even!"
She said that there is "no excuse" for such kind of behaviour, especially on the most holy land in the world. In her Instagram post she questioned what kind of threat "people mourning a loved one" present and said it was a funeral procession to lay a Palestinian veteran to rest.
"Beyond anything she is a human being. Shireen’s life as a Palestinian journalist has always been a threat to them, dead or alive. Although, we are never failed to be reminded that our existence as Palestinians is a threat in general, journalist or not. She had no weapons, showed no violence, just a camera. In return? A sniper bullet to the head. And repetitive shots at anyone who tried to help revive her," she wrote.
She questioned what the IDF soldiers "have to hide" that they continue the killing of journalists in the city. It says a lot about the Israeli military system, their government and "their geo-political game they pawn their people off to", she said.
For her, the attack meant a way for the forces to silence mourners with "abuse, batons, tear gas, below the belt kicks and more violence". The model argued that the latest attack also meant that the IDF wants to control Palestinian "emotions, voice, losses and grief" in addition to the rest of their existence.
Her post received comments from her sisters Alana and Marielle Hadid, Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech, New Zealand choreographer Parris Goebel, street-fashion brand I. Am. Gia CEO Alana Pallister, and photographer Alex White.
Previously the supermodel had used her platform to voice against oppression all over the world. As celebrities united over Russian invasion of Ukraine, Hadid had reminded people that all form of oppression deserves the same level of backlash, including the oppression in Palestine.