Malala Yousafzai vows support for Gaza after backlash

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai on Thursday condemned Israel and reaffirmed her support for Palestinians in Gaza, after a backlash in her native Pakistan over a Broadway musical she co-produced with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Yousafzai, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, has been condemned by some for partnering with Clinton, an outspoken supporter of Israel’s war against Hamas.

The musical, titled “Suffs,” depicts the American women’s suffrage campaign for the right to vote in the 20th century and has been playing in New York since last week.

“I want there to be no confusion about my support for the people of Gaza,” Yousafzai wrote on X, the former Twitter. “We do not need to see more dead bodies, bombed schools and starving children to understand that a ceasefire is urgent and necessary.”

She added: “I have and will continue to condemn the Israeli government for its violations of international law and war crimes.”

Pakistan has seen many fiercely emotional pro-Palestinian protests since the war in Gaza began last October.

Yusafzai’s “theatre collaboration with Hillary Clinton — who stands for America’s unequivocal support for genocide of Palestinians — is a huge blow to her credibility as a human rights activist,” popular Pakistani columnist Mehr Tarar wrote on social media platform X on Wednesday.

“I consider it utterly tragic.”

Whilst Clinton has backed a military campaign to remove Hamas and rejected demands for a ceasefire, she has also explicitly called for protections for Palestinian civilians.

Yousafzai has publically condemned the civilian casualties and called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The New York Times reported the 26-year-old wore a red-and-black pin to the “Suffs” premier last Thursday, signifying her support for a ceasefire.

But author and academic Nida Kirmani said on X that Yousafzai’s decision to partner with Clinton was “maddening and heartbreaking at the same time. What an utter disappointment.”

The war began with an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of around 1,170 people, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures. Hamas militants also abducted 250 people and Israel estimates 129 of them remain in Gaza, including 34 who the military says are dead.

Clinton served as America’s top diplomat during former president Barack Obama’s administration, which oversaw a campaign of drone strikes targeting Taliban militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan’s borderlands.

Yousafzai earned her Nobel Peace Prize after being shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban as she pushed for girls’ education as a teenager in 2012.

However, the drone war killed and maimed scores of civilians in Yousafzai’s home region, spurring more online criticism of the youngest Nobel Laureate, who earned the prize at 17.

Yousafzai is often viewed with suspicion in Pakistan, where critics accuse her of pushing a Western feminist and liberal political agenda on the conservative country.

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