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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World
5:51 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

Locals Join Crimean Defense Forces, Allied With Russia

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 8:23 pm

In Ukraine, tensions are high in the Crimean Peninsula. NPR's Emily Harris reports on the swearing in of new members to the Crimean defense force.

Europe
4:09 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

In Kharkiv, A Snapshot Of Ukraine's Tumult And Hope

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:29 pm

In Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, both pro-Europe and pro-Russian groups are planning more rallies this weekend. Some residents fear civil war; others believe compromise is still possible.

Europe
6:24 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Crisis With Russia Propels Ukrainian Nationalism

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

During Ukraine's recent revolution, ultra nationalist groups were prominent among the protesters battling police in Kiev's Maidan Square. A nationalist party was included in the interim government.

Europe
4:05 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

With Little Money And Lots Of Verve, Kiev Reporter Fights Corruption

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:31 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Secretary of State John Kerry made a high profile visit to Kiev today, showing political support for Ukraine's new government. He promised a billion dollars in loan guarantees. With lesser due, a team from the International Monetary Fund arrived. They're there to assess the state of Ukraine's finances.

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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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Europe
5:17 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Is Ukraine's Army Prepared For A War With Russia?

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 11:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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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
5:28 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Abbas Tells Students 'Peace Has To Happen'

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The West Bank city of Ramallah is normally off-limits to Israelis by Israeli law. But yesterday, 300 Israeli college students and other young leaders, with special permission from the military, traveled to Ramallah to hear Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas speak. An Israeli politician organized the unusual gathering, calling it a chance for Israelis to get to know what many of there see as their enemy.

NPR's Emily Harris reports.

(APPLAUSE)

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Middle East
5:13 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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Middle East
5:11 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Jordan Valley's Future At Stake In Mideast Peace Talks

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 7:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The River Jordan - where we're going next - is the dividing line between Jordan to the east, and the Israeli-occupied areas to the west. When you hear that heavily Palestinian zone called the West Bank, that's what it means: the West Bank of the Jordan. Its future is at stake in peace negotiations. Israelis see the River Valley as a vital security zone. Palestinians call it their breadbasket.

NPR's Emily Harris reports.

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Parallels
4:28 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
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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