Emily Harris

International Correspondent Emily Harris is based in Jerusalem as part of NPR's Mideast team. Her post covers news related to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She began this role in March of 2013.

Over her career, Harris has served in multiple roles within public media. She first joined NPR in 2000, as a general assignment reporter. A prolific reporter often filing two stories a day, Harris covered major stories including 9/11 and its aftermath, including the impact on the airline industry; and the anthrax attacks. She also covered how policies set in Washington are implemented across the country.

In 2002, Harris worked as a Special Correspondent on NOW with Bill Moyer, focusing on investigative storytelling. In 2003 Harris became NPR's Berlin Correspondent, covering Central and Eastern Europe. In that role, she reported regularly from Iraq, leading her to be a key member of the NPR team awarded a 2005 Peabody Award for coverage of the region.

Harris left NPR in December 2007 to become a host for a live daily program, Think Out Loud, on Oregon Public Broadcasting. Under her leadership Harris's team received three back to back Gracie Awards for Outstanding Talk Show, and a share in OPB's 2009 Peabody Award for the series "Hard Times." Harris's other awards include the RIAS Berlin Commission's first-place radio award in 2007 and second-place in 2006. She was a John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University in 2005-2006.

A seasoned reporter, she was asked to help train young journalist through NPR's "Next Generation" program. She also served as editorial director for Journalism Accelerator, a project to bring journalists together to share ideas and experiences; and was a writer-in-residence teaching radio writing to high school students.

One of the aspects of her work that most intrigues her is why people change their minds and what inspires them to do so.

Outside of work, Harris has drafted a screenplay about the Iraq war and for another project is collecting stories about the most difficult parts of parenting.

She has a B.A. in Russian Studies from Yale University.

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Parallels
6:29 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

The Violence In Gaza, Through The Lens Of One Family's Losses

Iman el-Kaas' 33-year-old husband, Anas, was killed last week by an Israeli attack that hit their apartment in the Gaza Strip. She says her husband, a pharmacist, had no ties to Hamas. He is among the nearly 200 killed so far in the current conflict.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 8:16 pm

Cloaked in black from head to toe, Iman el-Kaas cries in her mother's home in the Gaza Strip. Iman is in mourning.

Her husband, Anas el-Kaas, was killed by an Israeli attack that hit their apartment in Gaza early Friday morning. He was 33 years old, a pharmacist with two young children. They had just moved in a few months ago.

"I thought that apartment was gift, but it was the place he would be killed," Iman says. "Why? Why did they kill him?"

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Middle East
11:47 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Palestinians Seek Shelter At Supply-Strapped U.N. Schools

Palestinian families travel to a United Nations school to seek shelter after evacuating their homes near the Israel-Gaza border Sunday. Israel has been warning residents to leave.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 2:14 pm

Residents in Northern Gaza have been fleeing their homes in anticipation of a new Israeli assault, as the exchange of Hamas rockets and Israeli airstrikes enters its sixth day. A brief ground action conducted by Israel Sunday morning came as Israel warns that a larger campaign may be coming.

But United Nations schools in Gaza, which expect to shelter tens of thousands of Palestinians, say they're short on resources to help provide for the evacuees.

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Middle East
4:11 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

By Laying Waste To Houses, Israeli Strikes May Lay Seeds For New Rage

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 8:21 pm

Israeli air strikes on houses in the Gaza Strip have killed families and flattened the homes of neighbors, even as they target Hamas militants. One Palestinian human rights advocate says that, with these attacks, Israel is destroying a safe future for itself.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
4:02 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Deaths Mount Into The Dozens As Gaza Strip Bombardment Builds

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Parallels
3:07 am
Thu July 3, 2014

With Dirt And A Vision, Palestinian Architects Break The Mold

ShamsArd, a Palestinian architecture firm, uses packed earth to construct its environmentally friendly homes.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 11:31 am

The city of Jericho sits in the hot, flat Jordan Valley down the hill from Jerusalem. Jericho has bragging rights as one of the oldest towns on Earth. But one of its newest homes looks like it might have arrived from outer space.

Ahmad Daoud hired a firm of young Palestinian architects to build this house. Like Jericho's original homes, it is built of dirt. This one has a contemporary twist, though: It's constructed with earth compacted in bags that are then stacked and plastered over.

Daoud loves the domed rooms, the nod to the past and the environmental advantages.

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Middle East
6:52 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Israeli Military Responds After 3 Missing Teens Found Dead

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:24 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Three Israeli teenagers are being buried side-by-side today. They were kidnapped almost three weeks ago while hitchhiking in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and it now appears they were shot and killed almost immediately. Israeli soldiers found their bodies yesterday under a pile of rocks in a West Bank field. Israel blames the Palestinian militant group Hamas for the murders. NPR's Emily Harris is based in Jerusalem, but she's spending sometime in Washington right now, so she joins us in our studios. Emily, good morning.

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Parallels
5:19 am
Sat June 21, 2014

In Search For Missing Teens, Israel Cracks Down On Hamas

Israeli soldiers patrol in the West Bank village of Beit Furik, near Nablus, on Friday. They are searching for three missing Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped. Israel has detained more than 300 Palestinians in the search over the past week; the military says a majority of them are connected to Hamas.
Jaafar Ashtiyeh AFP/Getty Images

In the week since Israel's search to find three teenagers began, operation "Bring Back Our Brothers" has expanded to include a crackdown on Hamas and other suspected militants.

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Middle East
4:20 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Brimming With Extras, Palestinian Government Feels Unity Pains

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 7:08 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

What do you do with an extra 40,000 employees? That's a problem, right now, for the Palestinian Authority. A deal ending the long split between two Palestinian factions means that they are now forming a government together - Fatah and Hamas under the same roof. The thing is, each faction has its own workers who are supposed to perform the same jobs. NPR's Emily Harris went to Gaza and met two men, local cops whose jobs are now at stake.

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Middle East
5:24 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Teens Disappear In The West Bank, And Israel Blames Hamas

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 8:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Middle East
7:57 am
Tue June 3, 2014

U.S. To Work With Palestinian Unity Government Despite Hamas

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Let's examine now what has changed in the Middle East. Palestinians went ahead yesterday with a plan to form a unity government. It includes Fatah, the party that recognizes Israel, and Hamas which does not. The United States says it will work with that unity government. In a moment, we'll ask Israel's ambassador to the U.S. what Israel will do. We begin with NPR's Emily Harris in Jerusalem.

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Middle East
4:36 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Palestinian Split Shows Signs Of Healing, But Israelis Aren't Pleased

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:50 pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in the cabinet for a unity government joining his Fatah party with Hamas. It resolves a 7-year-old split but also draws condemnation from Israeli leaders.

Religion
5:17 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Pope Francis Ends Historic Mideast Trip

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Pope Francis wraps up his trip to the Middle East, where he addressed some of the region's tough political issues and cast some dramatic images at its most sensitive spots.

Middle East
6:41 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Pope Francis Wraps Up 3-Day Trip To Middle East

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 7:23 am

Pope Francis is in Jerusalem. He stopped at the holiest Jewish and Muslim sites in that city. The pope has invited Palestinian and Israeli leaders to join him in Rome to discuss Mideast peace.

Parallels
3:06 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Palestinians Appeal To Pope For Help In Land Disputes With Israel

Father Ibrahim Shomali, a Palestinian priest, holds prayer vigils every Friday in the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem. Israel is planning to build a wall, citing security needs, on agricultural land here owned by a local monastery. Shomali has asked Pope Francis to intervene.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:25 am

When Pope Francis visits Jerusalem on Monday, he will celebrate Mass in one of the holiest Christian sites in the world.

The Cenacle, or the Upper Room, is traditionally considered the place where Christ shared his Last Supper with disciples before he was crucified.

But the spot is holy not only to Christians. Below, some Jews believe, is the tomb of King David. A mosque has also stood on this site.

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Middle East
12:55 pm
Sun May 18, 2014

Unity Is A Difficult Mission For Christians In Israel

Arab-Israeli children ride in a float during an annual march for Virgin Mary in the northern Israeli city of Haifa on May 11. Arab Christians don't mix much with migrant or Russian Christians.
Ahmad Gharibli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 1:58 pm

Pope Francis visits the Mideast next week, including Israel, where Christians make up just 2 percent of the population.

But since the last papal visit to the Holy Land five years ago, the number of Christians in Israel has increased, and the makeup of the Christian population has continued to shift.

The vast majority of Israeli Christians have always been Arab and they still make up three-quarters of the 160,000 Christians living in Israel. But tens of thousands of Christians have come to Israel from Asia and Africa — both legal workers and undocumented migrants.

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The Salt
5:28 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Organic Produce Is A Tough Sell In The Gaza Strip

Rami al-Naffar is the clerk at a small organic produce shop in Gaza City.
Emily Harris/NPR

Outside a small organic produce shop in Gaza City, a large sidewalk placard reads "Good Earth" in Arabic in big red letters, followed by "Organic produce, free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides." The same message is on the shop's awning.

But "people don't notice the signs, they come in and ask, 'Why these [high] prices?,' " says Rami al-Naffar, the clerk here.

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Parallels
3:07 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Poverty Among Holocaust Survivors Hits A Nerve In Israel

An Israeli places a flower beside the name of the World War II Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen during a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, on April 28. The Israeli government is weighing a new plan that would get more financial help to elderly Holocaust survivors, including about 50,000 in the country who are living below the poverty line.
Ammar Awad Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 11:37 am

Yulia Feuerman stays dry-eyed while retelling many of her experiences during World War II.

When she was 10, Feuerman was separated from her mother and two sisters by Nazi soldiers in their small town in what is now western Ukraine. They were sent to a concentration camp. Feuerman, her father and two remaining siblings went into hiding with other Jews — but were eventually found by the Germans. Her father and brother were shot and killed. A Christian family took Feuerman in, pretending she was their daughter to protect her.

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Middle East
5:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Israel Suspends Peace Talks After Palestinians Reach Unity Deal

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 8:09 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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News
4:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Palestinian Talks Could Heal Leadership Divide And Anger Israelis

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:06 pm

Palestinian leaders say they're close to a deal that would end the seven-year division between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Questions remain about whether the deal would hold up, as well as what it might mean for ongoing efforts to forge a deal between Palestinians and Israelis.

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World
6:00 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Israel's Ultra-Orthodox Put Faith In Unorthodox Dating Service

Unlike many young women in her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Yael Mizrachi drives and has two university degrees. She's also having a difficult time finding a spouse.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 11:52 am

Yael Mizrachi, a 30-year-old Israeli woman, has been to many matchmakers.

"Too many," she says, rolling her wide dark eyes and tossing her shoulder-length hair.

Matchmakers are the traditional way to find a mate in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to which Mizrachi belongs. But she is not entirely traditional.

"I identify myself as a modern ultra-Orthodox," Mizrachi says.

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Parallels
3:09 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Stay Or Go: How Israeli-Palestinian Peace Would Redefine Home

A key, symbolizing the Palestinians who lost their homes at the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, sits at the entrance of the West Bank city of Jericho, on Feb. 22.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:15 pm

More than 1 million Arabs are citizens of Israel. And over the years, some 350,000 Jewish Israelis have moved to settlements in the West Bank. If the Israelis and Palestinians were to make peace and set a formal border, what would happen to all these people?

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Middle East
4:12 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Israeli Prisoner Release Steps Toward Peace And Draws Controversy

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:03 pm

Israel is preparing a prisoner release as part of the peace process with Palestinians. Arab citizens of Israel are set to be let go, a move more controversial than releasing non-citizen Palestinians.

Middle East
7:50 am
Sat March 22, 2014

In A 'Brilliant' Move, Hamas Puts A Woman Out Front

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 11:18 am

Isra al-Modallal is the first woman to be the public face of Hamas, the conservative group that rules the Palestinian territory. "Brilliant" is how one Gaza observer describes the decision.

Europe
7:59 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Russian Troops Continue Movements In Crimea

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 12:00 pm

As the standoff continues in Crimea, Russia warns the U.S. against "hasty" sanctions. Ukraine officials accuse pro-Russian forces of armed aggression.

Europe
4:29 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Western Diplomats Visit Kiev, Bringing Few Answers With Them

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. We begin this hour in Ukraine where Russian troops took control of more areas in Crimea today, including a ferry terminal between the Ukrainian peninsula and Russia. Western countries are strategizing a response to the crisis with many meetings and several high level visits to Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry is due in Kiev tomorrow.

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Middle East
4:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

A Greek Treasure Pulled From The Sea Disappears Again In Gaza

Last year, a Palestinian man fishing off the coast of the Gaza Strip discovered what is thought to be a 2,500-year-old bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo. The rare statue vanished from public view almost immediately after being pulled from the sea. The Hamas government in Gaza says it now has control of the statue.
APA Images/STR APA/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

On a sunny Friday in August last year, Judah Abughorab paddled a small, flat boat over the blue Mediterranean Sea about 100 yards off the Gaza Strip's sandy shore.

He doesn't really like to eat fish, but catching them is the unemployed construction worker's favorite pastime.

That day, he netted a half a dozen. Then, through the clear water, he spotted something that made him look again.

"It looked like a person," he says. "Eyes, a face, hands, fingers."

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Middle East
5:26 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Building Pressure May Mean Progress In Israeli Peace Talks

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 3:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There is a fake John Kerry wandering around Jerusalem these days. He stars in several satirical videos criticizing the U.S. effort to negotiate a peace agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The State Department suggests it is just the latest sign that Kerry has put real pressure on Israel to move toward a peace deal. NPR's Emily Harris reports.

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Parallels
4:29 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Even Among Their Own, Consensus Eludes Israelis And Palestinians

Nimrod Vider, an Israeli who owns a cafe in the Jordan Valley, part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He says he would be willing to leave the West Bank if the Israeli government thought it was the right thing to do.
Emily Harris NPR

Disputes between Palestinians and Israelis are a constant in their decades-old conflict, and that's what the wider world usually hears about.

But there are also near constant internal disagreements among Israelis. And Palestinians have divergent views too. On a recent trip through the Jordan Valley, which is deep inside the Israeli-occupied West Bank, near the border with Jordan, I spoke with Israelis and Palestinians about their internal differences.

Here's a sampling of those conversations:

An Israeli Cafe Owner and A Regular Customer

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Parallels
5:09 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Scarlett Johansson's Middle East Flap ... Over Soda

Scarlett Johansson recently became SodaStream's spokeswoman and appeared at an event at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Jan. 10 in New York City. The actress soon found herself engulfed in controversy because of her affiliation with a company that has a factory in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Mike Coppola Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SodaStream

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:55 am

When celebrities get drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, wittingly or not, controversy is sure to follow.

American actress Scarlett Johansson is the latest to discover this ironclad law of Middle East politics. And the issue is soda.

Johansson has for the past eight years been the celebrity representative for Oxfam International, the global aid organization.

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Parallels
4:26 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Palestinian Explains Why He Worked As An Israeli Informant

Abdel Hamid el-Rajoub, a Palestinian, became an informant for Israel while serving time in an Israeli prison. Palestinian informants play a key role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though both sides can be reluctant to speak about it. Rajoub, who now lives in Israel, says he is no longer an informant.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 11:00 am

It took four years in a prison cell for Palestinian Abdel Hamid el-Rajoub to decide to work as an Israeli informant. Not that he ever planned it that way. Rajoub is in his 60s now. He grew up in a Palestinian village near Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He says he was 19, an emotional young man, when he got involved in fighting Israel.

"It was my right," he says, "to fight Israel and the occupation."

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