Nikki Haley writes 'Finish them!' on Israeli artillery shell days after Rafah airstrike

Haley was visiting an Israeli military post with a member of the country's parliament when she signed a munition.
Nikki Haley
Posted at 5:14 PM, May 29, 2024

Nikki Haley, a former presidential candidate for the Republican party, wrote "Finish them!" on an Israeli artillery shell, days after Israel drew heightened criticism for its airstrike that killed dozens and displaced hundreds of Palestinians.

Haley, a former ambassador to the United Nations, had been visiting Israel's northern border with Lebanon — where there is also a longstanding conflict between the two countries — with Danny Danon, Israel's former ambassador to the U.N. and a member of the country's parliament, when they stopped by an Israeli military post Tuesday.

There, Danon's office shared a photo of Haley writing on a munition on social media, with the caption, "This is what my friend, the former ambassador Nikki Haley, wrote ... The I.D.F. will win!"

Haley's full inscription in purple ink read, "Finish them! America (heart) Israel. Always, Nikki Haley."

The former South Carolina governor's display of support drew immediate blowback across social media, particularly for its timing.

And although Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country's deadly airstrike on a Palestinian refugee camp in Rafah was a "tragic mishap," Haley told reporters this week that the country needs further support in doing "whatever" it needs to defeat its opponents, presumably criticizing the Biden administration's temporary withholding of weapons to the country.

"What America needs to understand is, if Israel's fighting our enemies, how can we not help them? The sure way to not help Israel is to withhold weapons. The sure way to not help Israel is to praise the ICC, the ICJ or any of those that are condemning Israel instead of condemning what happens," Haley said, as the ICC aims to arrest Netanyahu and the ICJ considers charging the country with genocide. "America needs to do whatever Israel needs and stop telling them how to fight this war. You are either a friend or not a friend."

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip.

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Haley — whose visit to Israel also included meetings with Netanyahu and visits to sites targeted by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attacks — had repeatedly shown her support for the country on the campaign trail and during her time as U.N. ambassador.

She recently said she'd vote for former President Donald Trump in the upcoming election after staunchly refusing to support him previously. The GOP front-runner has previously shown his support for Israel and his skepticism about a potential "two-state solution," but he recently said Israel was "losing the PR war" in the conflict.

According to estimates from the United Nations, more than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed and around 75% of Gaza residents — around 1.7 million people — have been displaced in Israel's retaliatory attacks since Hamas' initial Oct. 7 attack on the country. The agency also reports more than 1,200 Israelis have been killed and 5,400 have been injured in the aftermath. It's estimated that 125 hostages remain in Gaza.