Kamala Harris gave an interview during a campaign stop in which she promised to create a Palestinian state inside Israel’s borders while freezing the number of Jews permitted to live in Judea and Samaria. She also promised to appoint a special envoy to an Islamic organization that has condemned the US and which Turkey has attempted to organize as a huge military force focused on wiping Israel off the map.
Kamala Harris: Palestinian State Inside Israel
In an interview with The Arab American News on Saturday, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris explicitly stated that she was committed to creating a Palestinian state inside the borders of Israel with its capital in Jerusalem while limiting the number of Jews permitted to live in Judea and Samaria. The interview came during a campaign stop in Dearborn, Michigan, home to 40,000 Arab Americans and the largest Muslim population in the United States per capita.
Harris opened the interview by emphasizing the importance of Michigan in the upcoming election, noting that in 2016, Donald Trump won Michigan by a slim margin. She criticized President Trump’s “Muslim ban” (which was not, in fact, a travel ban on Muslims or Muslim majority countries).
“On day one, we will rescind the un-American Muslim travel and refugee bans and bring an end to the outrageous and immoral family separation policy,” Harris said. “We will also raise the annual refugee admissions target to 125,000; protect Dreamers and their families and reverse the public charge rule so we can make sure that permanent resident status isn’t contingent on household income.
Harris, whose father is Jamaican and mother is Indian, said, “Throughout my career, I have fought to defend the rights of communities of color and immigrants, including Arab Americans.” Arabs are not defined as “communities of color” and in the last census, were defined as ‘MENA’, an acronym referring to the Middle East and North Africa.
Harris explicitly stated that she was committed to creating a Palestinian state inside the borders of Israel with its capital in Jerusalem while limiting the number of Jews permitted to live in Judea and Samaria.
“Joe and I also believe in the worth and value of every Palestinian and every Israeli and we will work to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy,” Harris said. “We are committed to a two-state solution, and we will oppose any unilateral steps that undermine that goal. We will also oppose annexation and settlement expansion. And we will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, reopen the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem and work to reopen the PLO mission in Washington.”
PLO Mission and Consulate: Harris Got It Wrong
Harris’ reference to the consulate was factually inaccurate as it was located in the western section of Jerusalem, on the Israeli side of the 1949 armistice line, also known as the 1967 border.
The PLO Mission was closed after the organization violated its obligation to Congress not to target Israel at the International Criminal Court” (ICC). The Trump administration was obligated by law to close the office once the Palestinians announced their plans to take Israeli officials to the ICC.
Joe Biden has stated a commitment to these goals. Neither of the Democratic candidates has stated any concessions that would be expected from the Palestinians in return.
OIC: Anti-Israel and Anti-US, Potentially Very Dangerous
Harris ended her interview with a commitment that has hidden connotations.
“If elected, we will show the same commitment to outreach and engagement in the White House as we seek to restore America’s leadership around the world, including by appointing a special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which includes many Arab countries,” Harris said.
The OIC is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.8 billion. The OIC supports a two-state solution, boycotting Israel, and cutting ties with any state that recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or that moves its embassy to its environs. In 2018, the OIC condemned the US for moving its embassy to Jerusalem.
In March 2018, the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, a media outlet which is closely affiliated with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling AKP party, published an article titled, “A Call for Urgent Action,” which also appeared on the paper’s website under the title, “What If an Army of Islam Was Formed against Israel?” The article called on the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to form a joint “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack the state of Israel. The article went into specifics, describing in detail how such an army would overwhelm the Jewish State.
“If the OIC member states unite and form a joint military force, it will be the largest army in the world,” the article said. “These countries’ total population is 1,674,526,931. The number of soldiers in active service in these countries is at least 5,206,100. Their [overall] military defense budget, of $174,728,420, is also worthy of emphasis.”
Though Erdogan is not officially the head of the OIC, the organization frequently meets in Istanbul. Three months later, he chaired a summit of OIC leaders. Under his direction, the OIC released a statement calling for an international force to protect the Palestinians. The call came after several were killed by the IDF while trying to breach the security fence separating Israel from Gaza during the Hamas-led March of Return riots.
The OIC called “for the international protection of the Palestinian population including through dispatching of international protection force”. The OIC statement also lashed out at the United States, saying that Washington was complicit in the actions of Israel against the Palestinians.