#BBCtrending: One Direction's Zayn Malik tweets #FreePalestine

Zayn Malik on stage Image copyright Getty Images

One Direction's Zayn Malik is the latest in a series of celebrities to tweet in support of Palestinians - prompting speculation about whether he, like other celebrities, will delete his comment.

Malik usually avoids politics and this tweet was as short as it could be. "#FreePalestine" he tweeted late on Sunday to his 13 million followers. It's been retweeted more than 150,000 times since then. #FreePalestine is one of the biggest hashtags used in relation to current conflict in the Middle East - used more than two million times in the past month. But there's arguably nothing more powerful than celebrity endorsement.

Many welcomed his two-word foray into politics. "One Direction's @ZaynMalik tweets #FreePalestine. Who needs Justin Bieber," was one tweet. "I am so proud of you," wrote another fan.

Image copyright Zayn Malik

Many in Israel were not impressed however. "Please tell me this is just a nightmare," tweeted one of around 3,000 people using the specially-created hashtag #ZaynYouHaveFansinIsrael."You always made me smile but now u make me cry!!" tweeted another fan there.

There have also been a few hundred tweets on the hashtag #ThanksZaynFromIsrael - though many of these are sarcastic, rather than supportive. It's reported that he's also received a handful of aggressive and threatening tweets.

Zayn Malik is the latest in a relatively long list of celebrities who have tweeted to express solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. His tweet is still there. But many others swiftly deleted theirs:

  • Two weeks ago, singer Rihanna tweeted "#FreePalestine" - only to delete the post just minutes later
  • Model Gigi Hadid also reportedly tweeted "#FreeGaza" and then deleted it
  • Basketball star Dwight Howard deleted his "#FreePalestine" tweet, and apologised, saying it was a "mistake". "I have never commented on international politics and never will," he tweeted
  • Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks reportedly posted an image on Instagram with the words "Pray for Palestine" and went on to delete it
Image copyright Amare Stoudemire
Image caption Deleted - but caught in a screengrab

Last week, US actress and singer Selena Gomez posted an image on her Instagram page with the words, "It's about humanity. Pray for Gaza." It prompted a number of insulting comments - "you have a nice place in hell waiting for you," for example - but also 650,000 "likes".

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