Harris spoke at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai after Joe Biden asked him to take his place at the negotiating table on the war between Israel and Hamas.
In talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Harris said that “under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, the besiegement of Gaza, or the redrawing of the borders of Gaza,” the White House said in a statement.
She also said that post-war reconstruction efforts must be undertaken “in the context of a clear political horizon for the Palestinian people towards a state of their own led by a revitalized Palestinian Authority and have significant support from the international community and the countries of the region.”
“The vice president made clear that Hamas cannot control Gaza, which is untenable for Israel’s security, the well-being of the Palestinian people, and regional security” the White House said in a statement.
The Palestinian Authority administers parts of the West Bank with support from Western countries. Hamas seized control of Gaza from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party in 2007 and has ruled the enclave ever since.
Harris’ role in the administration is becoming increasingly prominent ahead of the US presidential election, which includes Joe Biden. She is tasked with helping solve a range of serious issues, from migration to abortion to voting rights.
The question of how to realistically manage Gaza in a post-conflict period has baffled regional leaders and Middle East experts. US officials are discussing the possibility of supporting the Palestinian Authority so it can expand its sphere of influence to include Gaza, but no firm plan has yet been agreed upon.
Some US officials have privately expressed doubts about the Palestinian Authority’s ability to govern Gaza after the war. Critics accuse the PA of corruption and mismanagement, and opinion polls show low levels of trust in it among the Palestinian people.
Harris also met with United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and spoke with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who was instrumental in negotiating the release of the Gaza hostages.
In remarks Saturday, Vice President Harris voiced the US desire to restore a pause in hostilities between Israel and Hamas to allow the release of more hostages and a steady flow of humanitarian aid.