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.

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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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.

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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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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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.

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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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.

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

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.

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."

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.

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.

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?

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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