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
5:30 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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Middle East
4:41 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

In Israeli Prison, An Elaborate Theater Of Interrogation

Ala'a Miqbel (shown here with his wife and their youngest son in their Gaza City apartment) was held for nearly four weeks in an Israeli prison, then released without charges. There, he met the "sparrows" — Palestinians who appear to be fellow prisoners but are actually gathering information for the Israelis.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 5:09 pm

Ala'a Miqbel phoned his wife and his boss on the morning of Aug. 26 last year, just to say he was almost at the Erez crossing. That's the checkpoint between the Gaza Strip, where Miqbel lives, and Israel.

The U.S. Consulate had invited Miqbel to attend a conference in the West Bank. Although he'd been to Ramallah for work several years ago, Israeli security wanted to interview him before granting a travel permit this time.

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Parallels
6:06 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Palestinian Herders Pick Up The Pieces After Homes Destroyed

Nehida Bne Menneh stands amid the rubble of her home in a small Palestinian herding camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It was destroyed for being in an area Israel long ago declared a closed military zone.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 2:14 pm

NPR's Emily Harris sent this postcard after visiting a community of Palestinian herders whose camp was demolished for being in a closed Israeli military zone.

It's about 20 minutes by four-wheel drive up a rocky canyon to Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah, a near-barren plain with a small spring. A handful of families live here, including more than a dozen children and over 700 sheep and goats.

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Middle East
5:23 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Palestinian Leaders Defied Villagers' Fury In Protecting Israelis

Palestinians (front and left) try to prevent fellow Palestinians from the village of Qusra from attacking a group of Israeli settlers after they sparked clashes upon entering the village near Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on Jan. 7.
Jaafar Ashtiyeh AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, incidents between Jewish settlers and Palestinians happen almost every day. Olive trees and grapevines are destroyed, tires are slashed, mosques are defaced. It's not just property destruction. Violence has cost lives on both sides.

Figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, show that settlers are responsible for the vast majority of incidents, which have nearly quadrupled since 2006, when OCHA began keeping track.

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Middle East
5:47 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Remembered

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 12:18 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's get the latest now from Israel, where former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be buried today. Sharon died Saturday, after spending eight years in a coma. Here's NPR's Emily Harris.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: The memorial service for Ariel Sharon opened with a prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Singing in foreign language)

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Middle East
3:31 am
Tue December 31, 2013

What Israel's Release Of Palestinian Prisoners Means For Peace

Freed Palestinian prisoner Omar Masoud served 20 years of a minimum 90-year sentence for killing Ian Feinberg, an Israeli, in 1993. Israel freed Masoud in October as part of a political deal to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 10:17 am

On Tuesday, Israel released another two-dozen Palestinian prisoners convicted of violent crimes against Israelis.

It's the third of four groups to be released before their sentences are up, part of a confidence-building deal that helped restart peace negotiations in July.

Palestinian Omar Masoud was a prisoner freed in one of the previous releases. He says that when he agreed to kill an Israeli working in the Gaza Strip, he expected consequences.

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Parallels
3:29 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

What It Costs To Cover Your Noggin In Jerusalem

A salesman at Ferster Quality Hats in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood Mea Shearim suggests rabbit felt hats made in Hungary for around $200. Twice the price of made-in-China, but he says they last much longer.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 8:16 am

Just how far does a dollar go? We'll try to answer that question as part of an occasional series on what things cost around the world. In this installment, NPR's Emily Harris looks at the price of headwear in Jerusalem.

In Israel and the Palestinian territories, headgear is big business. How much does it cost to cover up for different religions, traditions and fashions?

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Business
4:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Frustrated Documentary Maker Opens Cafe In West Bank

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 8:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, economic growth has been slowing this year. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed an ambitious plan to lure large-scale foreign investment. But details of his plan remain under wraps. Small businesses make up the vast majority of companies in the West Bank.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Emily Harris has this profiles of one new one.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Before opening a cafe, Palestinian Tariq el-Ayyan worked on documentary films.

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Middle East
4:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

In Little Town Of Bethlehem, U.S. Aid On Display At Christmas Market

A Palestinian family poses for pictures by the creche in Bethlehem's Manger Square.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 8:15 am

In Bethlehem's Manger Square, Palestinian singer Omar Kamal entertained a crowd of several hundred people this week. Young men met friends; parents snapped pictures of children by a nativity scene next to a giant artificial Christmas tree. A Santa Claus arrived by motorbike.

Bethlehem resident Suhair Issa loves Christmas in her hometown.

"Most people come at night," she says. "They like to drink and eat and buy sweets. It's very nice."

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Parallels
12:14 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Israeli Startup Offers Kids Social Media Training Wheels

Many children want to participate in social media sites like Facebook before they're old enough to legally sign up.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 9:14 am

Two years ago, Itay Eshet's daughter told him she wanted a Facebook account. She was 10 years old.

Facebook's great, Eshet told her, but it's not for kids. So instead they built a new social network for preteens called Nipagesh, which means "let's meet" in Hebrew.

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NPR Story
8:23 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Floods Drive Thousands From Gazan Homes

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 9:14 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

The sun is shining in Israel and the Palestinian territories today, a welcome reprieve after a major winter storm. Nearly two feet of snow crippled Jerusalem and Ramallah over the past few days. Floods forced thousands of people in the Gaza Strip to leave their homes.

NPR's Emily Harris has more.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN)

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Middle East
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Political Divisions Contribute To Limited Electricity In Gaza

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 8:18 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's turn now to the Middle East. In the Gaza Strip, it makes for good news that sewage is no longer flooding the streets. The sewage was one byproduct of an ongoing power shortage that seems to be easing, although just slightly. Hospitals and government offices should soon get electricity for more than the few hours a day, which has been the norm for weeks now.

NPR's Emily Harris reports that people expect, though, that they will still be cooking on open fires until Palestinian leaders mend a political split.

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Middle East
8:24 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Palestinian Refugees On Losing Side Of UN Budget Crunch

Palestinian refugee Lawahez Burghal stuffs tripe with rice and garbanzo beans for her family in their home in the Amari refugee camp in the West Bank. Many refugees still depend on the United Nations for food, health care and education.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 8:17 am

The United Nations agency that provides basic health care and education to Palestinian refugees doesn't have enough money to pay local salaries this month.

The shortfall could directly affect 30,000 teachers, doctors and social workers, as well as the people using their services in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Filling Basic Needs

Sit for an hour in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency office in the al-Amari camp for Palestinian refugees, and you get a sense of what people expect the agency to provide.

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Parallels
3:21 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Israel Dreams Of A Future As An Oil Producer

Givot Olam CEO Tovia Luskin expects to drill 40 wells and build a pipeline to a refinery on the coast. The company already has "proven and probable" reserves of 12.5 million barrels of oil. Luskin chose where to drill based on a passage from the Bible.
Emily Harris/ NPR

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 8:51 am

There's an old joke that if Moses had turned right when he led Jewish tribes out of Egypt, Israel might be where Saudi Arabia is today — and be rich from oil. Consultant Amit Mor of Eco Energy says that joke is out of date.

"Israel has more oil than Saudi Arabia," he claims. "And it's not a joke."

But that oil will be difficult to reach, if it can be recovered at all. The oil he's talking about is not yet liquid but is trapped in rocks underground.

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Middle East
5:14 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Critical Of Nuclear Deal, Israel Wonders What May Come Next

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly Cabinet meeting at his office Sunday in Jerusalem. Netanyahu says world powers gave away too much for too little in the interim deal reached last weekend with Iran over its nuclear program.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 8:50 am

Many Israelis are critical of the interim deal on Iran's nuclear program, and some are even more worried about what could follow.

"What's important here is that both sides decided: We have to start consulting. Right now," says Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, now head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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NPR Story
8:23 am
Sun November 24, 2013

Israel Slams Iran Nuclear Deal

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 8:37 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Israel has already criticized this deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the agreement as a historic mistake. As NPR's Emily Harris reports from Jerusalem, Israel will keep a military option on the table.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Prime Minister Netanyahu not only called this deal a historical mistake, he said the world is in more danger now than before the agreement was signed.

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Middle East
4:44 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Israelis Disagree On How To Keep Iran From Nuclear Weapons

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been lobbying hard against an agreement with Iran that would ease economic sanctions if it allows Tehran to continue enriching nuclear material in any way. Israelis overwhelmingly agree that the Iranians should not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.

The difference of opinion comes on the range of views of how to stop them. NPR's Emily Harris reports.

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Parallels
7:43 am
Sat November 16, 2013

African Migrants Find An Uneasy Asylum In Israel

Philip Giray came from Eritrea to Israel two years ago. He is one of some 60,000 migrants living in Israel.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 8:22 am

The scissors never seem to stop in Sami's barber shop off a pedestrian street in south Tel Aviv.

Fresh out of the barber's chair, Philip Giray says he left Eritrea two years ago. Smugglers helped the 20-year-old cross into Sudan and Egypt. Then he snuck into Israel.

"We come here, we ask asylum here, they doesn't welcome us," Giray says. "They punish us psychological, you know?"

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Middle East
5:01 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Kerry Tries To Get Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Back On Track

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli officials appear to have hit their roughest patch since the process restarted last summer. Secretary of State John Kerry spent today in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

As NPR's Emily Harris reports, Kerry met with leaders from both sides in an attempt to keep the talks on track.

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Parallels
11:53 am
Tue November 5, 2013

What Story Would You Like To See From Jerusalem?

NPR's Jerusalem correspondent Emily Harris gathers sounds in the Gaza Strip, where sewage is being pumped into the Mediterranean Sea.
Courtesy Emily Harris

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Before I moved to Jerusalem to cover Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, I asked friends and acquaintances what they wanted to know about these places.

Everyone knew something about the long-running conflict, the repeat political players, and the ancient religions and the historic significance of the land. But people had plenty of questions, too.

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