Reported by April V. Taylor
The New York Daily News is reporting that singer Rihanna posted and then, within minutes, deleted a controversial tweet that stated “#FreePalestine.” Despite the short amount of time the tweet was up, it was retweeted at least 6,900 times and also favorited by thousands of people. Hours after the post was removed, Rihanna tweeted, “Let’s pray for peace and a swift end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! Is there any hope?” The second tweet was clearly much more neutral than her initial tweet.
The tweet stems from the recent viοlence between Israel and Palestine, which has killed more 192 Palestinians. The United Nations is reporting that more than 80 percent of those deαths are civilians with 36 of them being children. Much of the conflict is due in large part to the fact that Israel has consistently encroached on Palestinian land and committed acts of aggression against Palestine that violate international law. Although Palestine has fought back, they are not equipped to inflict the damage Israel can. A statistic that illustrates this is the fact that 1,500 Palestinian children have been killed since the year 2000, while only 132 Israeli children have been killed. In perpetrating this violence, Israel has violated more UN resolutions than any other country, including Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Since 1948, Israel has expelled nearly 750,000 Palestinians from their land and continues to colonize ever increasing territory that does not legally belong to them.
Rihanna is not the only celebrity to tweet about the viοlence and aggression perpetrated against Palestine by Israel. Dwight Howard tweeted and deleted the exact same “#FreePalestine,” tweet over the weekend after another Twitter user brought the violence to his attention. The user tweeted a picture stating, “this is Gaza, Palestine being bombed. 151 innocent civilians have been killed thus far.” Howard tweeted back asking how he could help to which the user replied that he could help spread awareness about the, “innocent lives …at stake.” Both Rihanna and Howard stated that the tweets were a mistake. However, one has to wonder if that is how they really felt or if higher ups and advisers felt that the issue was too controversial for the celebrities to comment on.