Ongoing Coverage:

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
11:20 am
Thu December 25, 2014

After 522 Years, Spain Seeks To Make Amends For Expulsion Of Jews

Children gather outside the El Transito synagogue and Sephardic Museum in Toledo, Spain. Founded in 1357, the synagogue was converted into a church following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. Spain is now preparing to pass a law that would allow descendants of the expelled Jews to receive Spanish citizenship.
Gerard Julien AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 10:43 am

As night fell recently over the Spanish city of Toledo, Hanukkah candles lit up empty streets outside the medieval El Transito synagogue.

Folk songs in Ladino — a blend of Spanish and Hebrew — wafted across the garden of the synagogue, which is now the Sephardic Museum.

Sefarad means Spain in Hebrew, and the term refers to Jews of Spanish descent.

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Parallels
4:05 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Celebrating Hanukkah In A Palestinian City

Wolf celebrated Hanukkah in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank last year. As the holiday approached, she felt lonely, until her Palestinian host mother and a few neighbors came to watch her light candles on her portable tin menorah and hear her explain the holiday story.
Courtesy of Amelia Wolf

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 7:56 am

Amelia Wolf, an American Jewish college student, was living in the Palestinian city of Ramallah when the holiday of Hanukkah rolled around last year.

She liked the Palestinian family that was hosting her in the West Bank, but she felt a little lonely. She wasn't going to celebrate in Israel, where she had friends and relatives, as she had other Jewish holidays.

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Parallels
3:11 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

In Gaza, The Specter Of ISIS Proves Useful To Both Sides

The Islamist group Hamas, shown here in a rally in the Gaza Strip on Dec. 12, is the strongest faction in the Gaza Strip. The Islamic State, or ISIS, is not believed to be in the territory, though fliers purporting to be from the group have circulated in Gaza. They are widely believed to be fake, but both Israel and Hamas have tried to use them to their advantage.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:15 pm

Earlier this month, more than a dozen writers, poets and activists in Gaza got threatening fliers signed with the name ISIS, the Sunni extremists fighting with brutal violence in Iraq and Syria.

But a few days later, a new flier, also signed ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, denied responsibility and apologized.

The incident is raising the question of whether ISIS is taking root in Gaza — or if someone is just playing around.

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All Tech Considered
8:57 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Gaza Tech Hub Finds Success In International Crowdfunding

Gaza Sky Geeks, a startup accelerator, is drawing interest and crowdfunding from around the region and the world.
Gaza Sky Geeks

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 3:23 pm

People in Gaza are getting impatient with the slow pace of rebuilding. International donors pledged $5.4 billion to help, but little of the money has made it to Gaza yet.

A Gaza tech startup accelerator has gone a different route — international crowdfunding.

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Parallels
7:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Just Under The Surface, Palestinian Rivals Remain Bitterly Divided

A Palestinian with a green headband, which identifies him as a Hamas supporters, helps a fellow protester with a black-and-white scarf, the symbol of the Fatah movement. They were both taking part in a demonstration near the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 4. The factions agreed to end their feud earlier this year, but many of their supporters remain bitter rivals.
Majdi Mohammed AP

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 1:21 pm

Three months after the Gaza Strip war between Hamas and Israel, reconstruction of destroyed homes and businesses has hardly started. Part of the problem is the lack of clear Palestinian government authority on the ground.

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Parallels
2:52 am
Thu December 11, 2014

'People Are Going To Rebel': Slow Pace Of Rebuilding Frustrates Gazans

Men load bags of cement from a warehouse in Gaza. Under a complicated system meant to prevent militants from getting cement to use for tunnels, Palestinians must get approval from home inspectors to buy just one sack.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 11:31 am

Angry men crowded outside the Beautiful Tower Co. for Trade and Contracting in Gaza City last week. They wanted to pay for cement, but the man at the door would let in only one person at a time.

Everyone pushing for a turn had been authorized through a complicated monitoring system endorsed by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations to buy materials to fix war-damaged homes. The system is meant to stop militants from getting cement to use for tunnels and even requires Palestinians to get prior approval from home inspectors to buy a single sack of cement.

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World
3:29 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Israel In Political Upheaval — Two Years Ahead Of Schedule

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 9:34 am

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

Transcript

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Middle East
3:23 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

Israel Is A Homeland For Jewish People — But Is It A Jewish State?

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 6:12 pm

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

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Parallels
11:05 am
Sat November 22, 2014

In Response To Attacks, Israel Takes Down Palestinian Homes

After Palestinian Abdel Rahman Shaludi killed two people with a car in an attack last month, Israel destroyed his family's apartment in East Jerusalem by blowing up the front outside and most internal walls. Israel says the aim is deterrence, while the Palestinians call it collective punishment.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 10:28 am

After a spate of deadly violence in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to speed up home demolitions of attackers as a punishment and deterrent.

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Parallels
6:49 am
Sat November 15, 2014

At A Tense Jerusalem Holy Site, Palestinians Stand Watch

Palestinian men shout slogans next to Israeli police as they await permission to enter what Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Nobel Sanctuary, on Nov. 5, in Jerusalem, Israel. On Friday, Israel dropped age restrictions on men attending Friday prayers, a move aimed at lowering tensions around access to the contested shrine.
Lior Mizrahi Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 3:09 pm

Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary. Jews call it the Temple Mount. On the contested hilltop that has been the focus of so much of the unrest in Jerusalem, Muslims who see themselves as "defenders" of the sanctuary raise their voices in a call to God whenever Jewish visitors enter.

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Parallels
4:14 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Israelis And Palestinians Ask: Is Another Uprising On The Way?

Palestinian members of Hamas' armed wing takes part in a rally Thursday in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. The event was held in memory of Hamas military commanders killed during seven weeks of fighting with Israel in the Gaza Strip this summer.
Abed Rahim Khatib APA/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 9:31 am

During the first Palestinian uprising, or intifada, in the late 1980s, Palestinians refused to work in Israeli companies. Many threw stones and firebombs at Israeli troops.

During the second intifada, which erupted in 2000, suicide bombers repeatedly blew up public places in Israel, such as cafes, night clubs and buses.

Israeli Charlotte Slopack-Goller didn't ride the bus for a few years then.

"Now I take the buses without thinking," she says.

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Parallels
2:08 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Why Jerusalem's Real Estate Market Is Part Of The Mideast Conflict

Israeli police stand near a residence in East Jerusalem where Israeli Jews have bought apartments in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. The Palestinian seller said he sold the apartment to a Palestinian middleman and did not realize the ultimate owner was Jewish.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 5:33 pm

Daniel Luria raps on the tall metal door of a home in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, which is predominantly Palestinian. Luria is with the Jewish settler group Ateret Cohanim.

One rap and a small window pops open. Luria identifies himself. Soon the door opens too.

Inside sit armed security guards. Israeli police, on a break from patrolling the neighborhood, are there as well. A large screen shows multiple feeds from security cameras around the building. One Israeli flag flies over the roof. Another hangs from the railing of a small balcony.

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Parallels
11:15 am
Sat November 1, 2014

For Palestinians, A Bridge-Building Bus Trip To Israel Turns Sour

Israel's West Bank separation barrier, shown here with the Jewish settlement Maale Adumim in the background, symbolizes the division between two societies that had much more interaction a generation ago.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 12:59 pm

When the Israelis and the Palestinians were trying to make peace back in the 1990s, one of the buzzwords was "normalization," the attempt by both sides to learn to live together.

But in these days of ceaseless friction, normalization has become something of a dirty word, particularly for Palestinians. Nearly 50 Palestinians from the West Bank encountered these bitter sentiments when they went to Israel for an unusual one-day trip last week.

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Parallels
5:24 pm
Sat October 25, 2014

Israel's Solar-Powered 'Trees': For Smartphones And Community

A small solar-powered tree, invented by Israeli energy entrepreneur Michael Lasry, stands at the edge of natural greenery.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 6:35 pm

There are plenty of real trees in Ramat HaNadiv. Oaks, pine and willow line the trails that circle through this nature park near Mount Carmel in northern Israel.

And planted in the gravel at the edge of one clearing is a new species, the solar powered tree.

Biologically speaking, of course, all trees are powered by the sun. But this is different.

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Parallels
11:12 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Israeli Homes, Decorated With A Shopping Spree In China

Adi Asulin stands in the kitchen of her family's remodeled apartment north of Tel Aviv. She saved thousands of dollars by flying to China to buy furnishings and flooring directly from manufacturers.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:01 am

Adi Asulin lives in a fabulous apartment on the top floor of a seven-story building in the Israeli town of Ra'anana, north of Tel Aviv. The entry hall is long and light. Windows open onto an enormous balcony, which wraps around three sides of her home. The decor is fresh and white.

"It's all made in China," Asulin says.

Not just made in China. Nearly everything — the floors, the lighting, the furniture — she bought in China on a 10-day shopping spree.

The day after Asulin and her husband got keys to the place, she got on a plane to Guangzhou, in southern China.

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Parallels
4:43 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Amid Tight Restrictions And Rubble, A Cement Shortage In Gaza

A Palestinian worker checks a truck loaded with bags of cement as it crosses into southern Gaza from Israel last year. Israel has restricted cement supplies to only specific projects.
Said Khatib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 4:15 pm

Gaza businessman Maher Abu Ghanema wants to rebuild his currency exchange shop in Gaza City, but because for years Israel has restricted cement supplies to only specific projects, it's been slow going.

"I need at least 3 tons of cement," says Ghanema, who after two weeks of effort found 1 ton. "Whatever we got is from the black market, and it costs four or five times higher than the original price. Plus, it's low-quality."

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The Salt
10:09 am
Fri October 3, 2014

The Birth And Afterlife Of Israel's Precious Etrog Fruit

A man picks up an etrog, one of four plant species used during the celebration of Sukkot, in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak in central Israel in September, 2012.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

In a temporary warehouse in Israel's ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak, Shaul Kalimi examines etrogs.

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Parallels
2:31 am
Mon September 22, 2014

In The Gaza Strip, The School Year Gets Off To A Rocky Start

Classrooms across Gaza are crowded with as many as 50 or 60 students, principals say, as dozens of school buildings have been destroyed or damaged, or are still housing people who lost their homes.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 8:22 am

Last week in Gaza, half a million children went back to school after a summer of war. The academic year started late; among other things, authorities had to check buildings for unexploded ordnance and scrub schools that had been used to shelter hundreds of thousands of displaced families.

Among the students returning to class was 16-year-old Wala'a Abdelkas, a sophomore from Gaza's al-Bureij refugee camp.

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Parallels
1:20 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

As The Gaza Strip Calms Down, The West Bank Heats Up

Ali Faroun, a local Palestinian activist, has fought land appropriations in Israeli courts. He has a collection of maps and deeds that documents Palestinian land rights in the West Bank.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 7:39 pm

From the hilly Israeli settlement of Gva'ot, on a peak in the occupied West Bank, you can see nearby hills that are part of a 1,000-acre parcel of land that Israel this week claimed as state land, an announcement that in the wake of the Gaza cease-fire is reigniting political sparks.

Palestinians say the land should be part of their future state. Israel plans to use it to build more settlements in the West Bank, where there are now more than 350,000 settlers.

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Middle East
4:03 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Gaza Family Mourns The Loss Of A Son, Brother — And Hamas Militant

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 6:09 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Middle East
5:33 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Life In Gaza Deteriorates As Water, Power Shortages Intensify

Palestinian children fill plastic bottles and water containers with drinking water from a public tap in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip on July 27.
Ashraf Amra APA/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 12:54 pm

At a U.N.-run school where she was taking shelter from the fighting, Fulla Abed Rabou washed clothes in an outdoor sink.

City pipes deliver some water. But with thousands of people taking refuge at schools, much more has to be trucked in. Still, there is sometimes not enough, says Merit Hietanen, a U.N. employee managing water deliveries to the schools.

"One of the major issues is the tanks in the actual schools: The capacity is not big enough," she says. "So if we're tankering water, even if we manage to do it twice a day, they will run out."

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Middle East
3:08 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

A Market And A School Come Under Fire During A Violent Day In Gaza

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 6:07 pm

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

Middle East
4:30 am
Wed July 30, 2014

After War's Deadliest Day, Another U.N. School In Gaza Gets Hit

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 7:07 am

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

Middle East
3:09 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

One Gaza Family Observes A Grim Holiday In Wartime

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:31 pm

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

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Parallels
9:15 am
Mon July 28, 2014

For Muslims In Gaza, End Of Ramadan Marred By Fighting

Members of a Palestinian family break their fast with the iftar meal during the holy month of Ramadan at a United Nations school, where hundreds of families have sought refuge after fleeing their homes following fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas.
Adel Hana AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 5:56 pm

Um Ahmed Ahmed almost ignored Eid this year.

The Muslim holiday, which began Monday, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. This year, it also marks three weeks since the current war in Gaza started.

"My plans were to have no plans for Eid," Ahmed says, pausing in the Firaz market area on a main street in Gaza City. "But my son kept bugging me, 'Mom, aren't you going to buy me something for Eid?' "

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Middle East
4:14 pm
Sun July 27, 2014

On The Eve Of Ramadan's End, Fighting Resumes In Gaza

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 5:52 pm

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

Transcript

ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:

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Parallels
3:29 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

The Long History Of The Gaza Tunnels

An Israeli army officer on Friday shows journalists a Palestinian tunnel that runs from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Israel says its current military campaign is aimed at destroying the tunnels.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 2:06 pm

During the current round of fighting in the Gaza Strip, Kareem, a 40-year-old Palestinian, witnessed a Hamas tunnel exposed.

"There is a chicken coop near us," said Kareem, who lives on the eastern edge of Gaza City, bordering on farmland. "We know it's a chicken coop."

But an Israeli attack, which destroyed the chicken house, revealed a tunnel heading east toward Israel, he said.

"We didn't know about it, but we faced a risk because of it," he said.

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Middle East
3:35 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Gaza Cease-Fire Still Just Out Of Reach: What Does Each Side Want?

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:40 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry is trying again to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, as casualty counts rise inexorably higher. NPR's Emily Harris is in Gaza, and she speaks to Audie Cornish about both sides' demands.

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

Middle East
3:15 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Attack On U.N. School Kills Over A Dozen Civilians In Gaza

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:22 pm

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

Middle East
3:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

In A Crowded Gaza, A Growing Sense That Nowhere Is Safe

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 7:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour with developments in Gaza, Israel and Cairo. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Egypt trying to forge a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

JOHN KERRY: The loss of lives and the humanitarian impact is really heartbreaking. And we're joining our international partners in reiterating our call for an immediate end to the fighting and a return to the cease-fire that was reached in 2012.

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