In Arab culture, showing the sole of the foot or shoe — the lowest part of a person — is considered an insult, and that is what some reactionaries were convinced she was going for.
Bella -- whose father, Mohamed Hadid, is a Palestinian Muslim -- was forced to take to Twitter to set the matter straight.
"I am posting this to clear up a few things that have been weighing on my heart," she wrote, both in English and Arabic. "To begin, I would never want my posts or platform to be used for hate against anyone, especially those of my own beautiful & powerful heritage. I love and care so much about the Muslim and Arab side of my family, as well as my brothers and sisters throughout the world."
"Not only do I have so much respect from the bottom of my heart, I have always tried to stand up for what I feel is right, especially regarding the great Middle East. I have never and will never be the one to talk down on these countries... Only to spread love, and the true beauty of them, as the way I was taught by my Teta and my father. To feel as if I have disappointed you is what hurts me the most."
"The photo of my shoe on my Story yesterday had NOTHING to do with politics. I promise," she continued. "I never noticed the planes in the background and that is the truth. I would never mean to disrespect these airlines, let alone these amazing countries. I absolutely love these airlines, with the best planes and people."
"I want to send a sincere apology to those who ever thought I would put blame on them, especially to Saudi Arabia and the UAE... This was never the case, and I hope you can understand the misunderstanding."
She concluded: "I will be more responsible when bringing awareness to all causes, including my beloved Middle Eastern community. Thank you for taking the time. I love every single one of you."
Bella then tweeted in summary: "this was an honest mistake on an early morning... never, ever would I intentionally try to offend anyone like that. I am so sorry."