Nikki Haley writes 'finish them' on Israeli missile intended to be dropped on Gaza

Former US presidential candidate wrote message on shell during trip to Israel

Nikki Haley, former presidential candidate, speaks during a news conference in Sderot, Israel. Bloomberg
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Former US Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Tuesday visited Israel's northern border with Lebanon, where she signed her name on an artillery shell under a message reading: “Finish them. America loves Israel.”

Ms Haley's visit was organised by a right-wing member of the Israeli Parliament, Danny Danon.

“This is what my friend, the former [UN] ambassador, Nikki Haley wrote today on a shell during a visit to an artillery post on the northern border,” Mr Danon wrote on X.

In her own post, Ms Haley said that the missile she signed was intended for Hamas.

The photos and message drew fury on social media.

“Just disgusting,” Alon-Lee Green, founder of Standing Together, a left-wing Israeli group, wrote on X.

Ms Haley also shared pictures of a visit to the site of the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel – during which about 1,200 people were killed, according to Israeli authorities – and meetings she held with survivors.

Her visit came after Israel launched air strikes on a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah at the weekend, which killed about 45 people.

The move elicited a global outcry and calls on Israel to immediately halt operations in the area.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since October 7, according to local officials.

US President Joe Biden's administration has for weeks warned Israel against a military invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

After the strikes, US officials called the images coming out of Rafah “horrific” and “heartbreaking”, but stopped short of condemning Israel's operations.

Mr Biden, who is running for re-election, has been facing growing pressure to rein in Israel's operations in Gaza.

The President is gearing up for a likely rematch against former Republican president Donald Trump in November.

The most recent polls show Mr Trump leading Mr Biden slightly in a head-to-head contest.

Ms Haley, who was UN ambassador under Mr Trump, challenged her former boss for their party's nomination but dropped out of the race in early March, paving the way for him to become the presumptive nominee.

Last week, she announced she would vote for Mr Trump, but stopped short of urging her supporters to do the same.

“I think she's going to be on our team because we have a lot of the same ideas, the same thoughts,” Mr Trump said the following day.

US media has reported that she met members of the Trump campaign after her announcement.

It remains unclear what role Ms Haley might play in Mr Trump's campaign or his administration, should he win.

Mr Trump has so far said little about Gaza or how he would handle the war should he be re-elected.

But this month, Mr Biden challenged him to two televised debates, in June and in September, in which Gaza is expected to feature.

Updated: May 29, 2024, 6:36 AM