Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

NPR correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is most at home when she's on the move. Born in London, the journalist has lived in the United States, Colombia, Afghanistan, Israel and Mexico City. She currently covers the Middle East for NPR, and is based in Jerusalem.

After covering Iraq as NPR News' Baghdad Bureau Chief since February 2008, Garcia-Navarro made another move: relocating to Israel in April 2009 to become NPR's correspondent based in Jerusalem.

Prior to reporting from Baghdad, Garcia-Navarro spent three years as NPR's foreign correspondent in Mexico City, reporting from that region as well as on special assignments abroad. Her depth of reporting brought an insider's cultivated perspective to a territory that also embraces her family's roots (incidentally, her parents are from the region).

Garcia-Navarro got her start in journalism as a freelancer with the BBC World Service and Voice of America, reporting from Cuba, Syria, Panama and Europe. She later became a producer for Associated Press Television News (APTN) before transitioning to AP Radio. While there, Garcia-Navarro covered post-Sept. 11 events in Afghanistan and developments in Jerusalem. From 2002 to 2004, she was based in Iraq.

Why journalism? Garcia-Navarro says that she likes "to tell people's stories, to make their lives real and vivid," adding that it's "an important job and I love doing it."

Garcia-Navarro holds a B.S. in International Relations from Georgetown University and an M.A. in journalism from City University in London. She was the recipient of the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize in 2006 for a two-part series "Migrants' Job Search Empties Mexican Community," and also shared in two awards honoring NPR News' Iraq reporting: a Peabody Award in 2005, and a 2007 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award.

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11:51am

Thu June 6, 2013
Parallels

Once Unsafe, Rio's Shantytowns See Rapid Gentrification

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:38 pm

The small, hillside community of Babilonia, situated above the Leme and Copacabana neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, has ocean views.
Lianne Milton for NPR

A new gastronomic guide to Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns — for a cool $35 — has just been published. A new boutique hotel perched on top of one of Rio's previously most dangerous favelas is about to open. And yes, there is a jazz club and yoga, too.

These are new services catering to a new kind of favela resident.

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1:14pm

Fri May 31, 2013
Parallels

Rio Goes High-Tech, With An Eye Toward Olympics, World Cup

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:27 am

Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums.
Raphael Lima Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro

We are standing in front of a huge bank of screens, in the middle of which is a glowing map that changes focus depending on what the dozens of controllers are looking at.

The room looks like something straight out of a NASA shuttle launch. The men and women manning the floor are dressed in identical white jumpsuits. With a flick of a mouse, they scroll through dozens of streaming video images coming into the center.

This is Rio de Janeiro in real time.

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2:13pm

Mon May 27, 2013
Parallels

'We Are Not Valued': Brazil's Domestic Workers Seek Rights

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 4:57 pm

Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits.
AFP/Getty Images

The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.

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5:04pm

Thu May 16, 2013
Parallels

Brazil Looks To Build A 10,000-Mile Virtual Fence

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 7:44 pm

A drug-sniffing dog checks bags at a Brazilian border crossing with Bolivia on April 3. With an increase in illegal immigration and drug smuggling, Brazil is planning to build a virtual fence along its 10,000-mile border.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Brazil's borders are so vast, and the terrain so inhospitable, that attempting to secure them has seemed a virtually impossible task.

But Brazil's rapidly expanding economy has made the country a magnet for illegal immigration, drug smuggling and other illicit activities, and now the country has announced its own border protection program.

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5:34am

Sun May 12, 2013
The Changing Lives Of Women

C-Sections Deliver Cachet For Wealthy Brazilian Women

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 7:11 pm

Daniele Coelho holds her newborn daughter as doctors finish her cesarean section at the Perinatal Clinic in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 2. Brazil has one of the world's highest rates of cesarean births.
Felipe Dana AP

The office is immaculate, as you would expect in an upscale neighborhood in Sao Paulo — all sterile, white, modish plastic furniture and green plants. Behind the reception desk are pictures that would look more appropriate in a pop art gallery than a private maternity clinic.

The list of services at the clinic in Brazil's largest city is long: fertility treatments, specialized gynecology and, of course, obstetrics. But one thing they rarely do here is preside over a vaginal delivery.

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2:39pm

Tue April 30, 2013
Latin America

As Youth Crime Spikes, Brazil Struggles For Answers

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:34 am

A youth smokes crack in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A crack epidemic is one factor contributing to the sharp rise in crime committed by Brazilian minors.
Felipe Dana AP

In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.

Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.

"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."

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3:17am

Tue April 30, 2013
Latin America

Brazil Seeks To Avoid Own Goal Ahead Of World Cup

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 11:19 am

The renovated Maracana stadium hosts a game by the teams "Friends of Bebeto" and "Friends of Ronaldo" during the stadium's inauguration in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Soccer isn't just a sport in Brazil, it's a religion, and the main temple is the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

The venue is not only the biggest stadium in Brazil but the biggest in South America. Over the weekend, the newly renovated complex reopened to great fanfare, with stirring musical numbers, a light show and dignitaries including Brazil's president.

The headlines in the local media, however, focused not on the fanfare but on the many problems, from flooding in the VIP area to malfunctioning seats and turnstiles. The stadium was also four months late reopening.

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1:03pm

Mon April 22, 2013
Latin America

In Gritty Sao Paulo, Artists Take To The Streets

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 9:52 pm

A portrait is projected on the walls of a building as part of a project promoting art through re-evaluating urban spaces and buildings in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 22.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

It's lunchtime in the heart of Sao Paulo's financial district. Surrounded by tall buildings of cool glass and steel, men and women in suits and business attire walk back and forth busily in Brazil's largest city.

Standing amid the bustle is Leticia Matos — who is, for want of a better word, a crochet artist. She couldn't look more different from the people around her.

Wearing a short-sleeve shirt and covered in bright, quirky tattoos, Matos is at work, too. About a year ago, she says, she got the idea for her project while knitting and crocheting with her friends.

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3:27am

Fri April 12, 2013
Latin America

In The Wake Of Brazil's Boom, Prices To Match

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 10:56 am

Tatiana Coelho buys fruit from a vendor in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 20, 2012. Prices, especially for food, are skyrocketing in Brazil.
Melanie Stetson Freeman Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, a Starbucks coffee shop looks as it would in the United States. It has the same jazzy music; the same items on the menu.

There is one thing that is different, though: the prices.

"Everyone told me it's expensive, but when you see it yourself it's shocking," says one customer, Thierry, who is from Geneva and is in town for a wedding.

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3:44pm

Tue March 19, 2013
Middle East

'We Survived Iraq': An Iraqi Makes A New Home In North Carolina

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 7:51 pm

Ali Hamdani was a doctor in Iraq before becoming a translator for NPR. He now lives in North Carolina.
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro NPR

Ten years after the Iraq War began, NPR is catching up with people we encountered during the conflict. Back in 2008, NPR's armored car was targeted with a so-called sticky bomb in Baghdad. Ali Hamdani, an Iraqi who worked for NPR as a translator and producer, narrowly escaped. Shortly afterward, he left Iraq for the Unites States as a refugee.

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1:50pm

Thu January 17, 2013
U.S.

A War Correspondent Takes On Her Toughest Assignment

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 11:55 am

NPR correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (right) conducts an interview in the West Bank.
Courtesy of Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

When I discovered I was pregnant, I realized it was time for a change of pace. I'd been covering conflicts around the world for 12 years. The plan was to retreat to balmy Miami where my family is, have my baby and just slow down for a bit.

My husband was taking time off; I would have plenty of extra help if I needed it. While pregnant, I fantasized about the tender, quiet moments I would share with my daughter, her suckling contentedly while I cooed.

"How hard could motherhood be?" I blithely thought.

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8:00pm

Sat September 22, 2012
Middle East

Gaza's Future Looks Bleaker Even Than Its Past

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 11:43 am

A Palestinian family rides on a donkey cart along a waste dump in Al-Nusirat, central Gaza Strip, in February. Living conditions continue to deteriorate for the 1.8 million Palestinians who reside in Gaza.
Ali Ali EPA/Landov

Ihab Abu Nada's family lives down a series of dark narrow alleyways in Gaza City. The house has two bedrooms for the seven people living there — the kitchen and the bathroom are in the same space, and the roof is made of tin and frequently leaks.

Still, most of the Palestinian family's income goes into paying the rent.

Ihab's picture adorns a cracked wall; it's a simple memorial. Earlier this month, after being unable to find work, the 18-year-old set himself on fire and died. The family is still in mourning.

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5:18pm

Tue August 14, 2012
The Salt

Sneaking A Bite During Ramadan's Long, Hot Days

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:01 am

Palestinians order food at a coffee shop in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday.
Tara Todras-Whitehill Tara Todras-Whitehill for NPR

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has fallen on the longest and hottest days of the year, which means up to 15 hours of fasting in soaring temperatures.

This seems to have increased the number of Muslims who aren't fully observing the fast, and may be sneaking a bite or a drink — though no one wants to say so on the record.

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3:03am

Tue August 14, 2012
Middle East

Palestinians Fear New Israeli Moves In West Bank

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 9:25 am

Israeli army tractors demolish a Palestinian home on Nov. 24, 2011, in the village of Yatta near Hebron, reported to be in Area C, an Israeli-controlled section of the West Bank. Recently, Israel has issued orders to evacuate and demolish more Palestinian communities in Area C, the largest section of the West Bank.
Abed Al Hashlamoun EPA/Landov

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen for almost two years. But Palestinians say that doesn't mean events aren't happening on the ground.

Recently, the Israeli military issued orders calling for evacuation and demolition of nearly a dozen Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians see this as evidence of Israeli plans to annex the territory, though Israel denies this.

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6:55am

Thu August 9, 2012
Middle East

Israel Monitors Egypts Call To Modify Treaty

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 9:44 am

Israeli soldiers look at their Egyptian counterparts from their side of the border Wednesday at the Kerem Shalom border crossing, where an attack by Islamist militants on Sunday killed 16 Egyptian soldiers.
Tara Todras-Whitehill for NPR

Israel is welcoming Egypt's military efforts to stamp out Islamist militants in the Sinai following the recent border attack there that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers. The Jewish state has long been concerned over the situation in the Sinai, where there's been an upsurge in violence.

But calls in Egypt to modify the peace treaty with Israel — allowing Egypt to strengthen its security in the Sinai — has also led to concern in Israel.

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4:29pm

Mon August 6, 2012
Middle East

Sinai Attack Dashes Hopes For Closer Gaza-Egypt Ties

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 9:43 am

Palestinians look at items in a gift shop as they wait to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip last month. Egypt shut down the crossing less than a week later, after a deadly attack near Rafah left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead.
Tara Todras-Whitehill for NPR

In Gaza, the departures hall at the Rafah border crossing between the Palestinian territory and Egypt is brand new, air conditioned and festooned with Palestinian flags.

Only a few days ago, uniformed border guards called out the names of those approved to leave Gaza.

The improved land crossing from Gaza into Egypt was the centerpiece of what Hamas hoped would be an expanded relationship between the two neighbors.

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5:58pm

Thu July 26, 2012
World

Latest Target For Palestinians' Protest? Their Leader

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:20 am

Abbas attends a meeting of his Fatah movement at its headquarters in Ramallah on Jan. 29.
Atef Safadi EPA/Landov

The Kalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank is best known as a flashpoint between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces. Images of masked youths throwing rocks by the painted concrete wall here are ubiquitous.

Protesters gathered at Kalandia again last week, but their focus wasn't Israeli soldiers: It was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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5:44pm

Thu July 12, 2012
Middle East

Report: Violence Against West Bank Palestinians Is Up

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 8:47 am

Jewish settlers in the West Bank throw stones during clashes with Palestinians near the city of Nablus on May 19. A new report says violence by settlers directed at West Bank Palestinians is up sharply over the past three years.
Jaafar Ashtiyeh AFP/Getty Images

Farming is the mainstay of the Palestinian communities around the West Bank village of Yanoun. Animals graze the land, and Palestinians make their living by harvesting citrus fruits and olives.

Last Saturday, Palestinians say, a group of Jewish settlers killed some of the sheep belonging to the Bani Jabr family. Palestinians say its part of a regular pattern of harassment in the area by settlers.

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3:51am

Tue July 10, 2012
Middle East

Walls Of Palestinian Homes Come Tumbling Down

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 8:46 am

Palestinians collect their belongings after Israeli bulldozers raze their house in an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem on Feb. 9.
Ahmad Gharbali AFP/Getty Images

Israel has dramatically increased its demolitions of unauthorized Palestinian homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a recent United Nations report.

Last year, 1,100 Palestinians — more than half of them children — were displaced, an 80 percent increase from the previous year. And demolitions this year continue at a high rate.

For Sami Idriss, the Israeli bulldozers came while the 26-year-old Palestinian was at work.

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4:11pm

Mon July 9, 2012
Middle East

Israeli Draft Roils Arab-Israeli Leaders

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 8:45 am

Israeli reservists soldiers and Israeli parents whose children were killed during army service attend a rally in support of a new law to mandate universal military conscription — including ultra-religious Jews who had been previously exempt and Arab Israelis, July 7, in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

The Israeli government is weighing a new law that would impose mandatory military service on religious Jews who are currently exempt, as well as compulsory national service for Israel's Arab citizens.

The issue has inflamed passions, highlighting the increasing religious-secular divide in the Jewish state and Arab Israelis' uneasy relationship with the Jewish state.

An estimated 20,000 Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv over the weekend in support of the proposed changes.

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1:55pm

Wed July 4, 2012
Middle East

Medical Marijuana Use Sprouting In Israel

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 8:33 am

Moshe Rute smokes cannabis at the Hadarim nursing home in Kibutz Naan, Israel. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, the Tikkun Olam company is distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes to more than 1,800 people in Israel.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Israel has become a world leader in the use of medical marijuana. More than 10,000 patients have received government licenses to consume the drug to treat ailments such as cancer and chronic pain.

But while the unorthodox treatment has gained acceptance in Israel, it still has its critics.

Susan Malkah breathes in the cloud of smoke from a plastic inhaler especially formulated for medical marijuana use. She has a number of serious ailments and is confined to a wheelchair.

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12:32pm

Tue June 26, 2012
World

Arab-Jewish Tensions Creep Into 'Peace Village'

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 10:28 pm

A boy walks past spray-painted graffiti that reads in Hebrew, "Death to Arabs" and "Revenge." The vandalism took place earlier this month in the mixed Arab-Jewish community of Neve Shalom in Israel.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

The Israeli village of Neve Shalom was founded decades ago as a place where Arabs and Jews could coexist in the volatile Middle East. The area has weathered regional wars and uprisings, but earlier this month, vandals targeted it and spray-painted anti-Arab epithets on the school's walls.

"We discovered first of all that a number of tires had been punctured, and then we noticed the damage at the school, slogans painted on the walls saying 'Death to the Arabs,' " says Howard Shippin, a longtime resident of Neve Shalom village. "Of course it's very disturbing."

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5:55am

Mon June 25, 2012
Middle East

Putin Visits Israel During Uncertainty In The Middle East

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 3:56 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the Middle East today. He's on a tour of the region that begins in Israel, where he's accompanied by a four-plane convoy carrying an entourage of 300 businessmen and policymakers.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports on the agenda in a country where Putin's policies have caused a lot of consternation.

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5:08pm

Mon June 4, 2012
Middle East

Israel Presents Itself As Haven For Gay Community

Originally published on Sun June 10, 2012 8:56 am

Israel is now marketing itself internationally as welcoming to the gay community. Participants in the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem are shown here on July 29, 2010.
Ronen Zvulun Reuters/Landov

The sun is setting, gay pride flags wave next to the water, same-sex couples kiss and cuddle on the beach. This is Tel Aviv — which the government of Israel is now pushing as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world — and gay tourism is booming.

"It's a place you have to go, good parties, nice people, beautiful people and just different from all the other tourist destinations you can go to," says Jorg Grosskopf, a German tourist who, together with his partner, Peter, is on his seventh vacation in Israel.

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4:51pm

Fri May 18, 2012
Middle East

In Change, Palestinians Now Seek High-Profile Visits

Originally published on Sun May 20, 2012 8:46 am

Egypt's grand mufti, Ali Gomaa (center, with scarf), visits the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in April. The Dome of the Rock, which is part of the same compound, is shown behind him. Many Muslims have boycotted the site because Israel claims sovereignty. But Palestinian religious figures now say they welcome such visits, a move that has sparked controversy.
AFP/Getty Images

For decades, Muslims around the world have been unofficially boycotting Islam's third holiest site, the Al-Aqsa mosque Jerusalem.

Many Muslims believe that visiting legitimizes Israel's claim to the site, which also sits atop the holiest place in Judaism. The Palestinians, meanwhile, are seeking a state with a capital in east Jerusalem, where the mosque is located.

But Palestinian religious authorities at Al-Aqsa and Palestinian officials are now calling on Muslims to visit the shrine, a change that is creating controversy within the Palestinian community.

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6:31am

Thu May 17, 2012
Middle East

After Palestinian Prison Deal, A Push For Nonviolence

Originally published on Sun May 20, 2012 8:43 am

Israeli soldiers stand in front of Palestinian and foreign activists during a demonstration on the 64th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel, at the Hawara checkpoint outside Nablus, West Bank, on Tuesday.
APAimages/Rex Features AP

This week, Palestinian prisoners ended a mass hunger strike aimed at improving their conditions in Israeli prisons after reaching a deal with Israeli authorities. The success of the collective action in wresting concessions from Israel has some Palestinians calling for a greater emphasis on nonviolence in their opposition to Israeli policies.

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4:23pm

Mon May 7, 2012
Middle East

Israel Plans September Vote That Favors Netanyahu

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 8:26 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Likud party convention in Tel Aviv, May 6. Netanyahu said Monday that the next general elections would be held on Sept. 4, instead of the original schedule of October 2013.
Yin Dongxun Xinhua/Landov

Israel will hold parliamentary elections on Sept. 4, a timetable that looks favorable for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party, who have been in power for the past three years.

Netanyahu called for the new poll, saying he wanted to renew his mandate and broaden his coalition even though a new election is not required until October 2013.

The current coalition has been the most stable one for years in Israel. But both international and domestic considerations prompted Netanyahu to call for a new vote now.

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5:04pm

Mon April 23, 2012
Middle East

Israels Weighs Action On A Controversial Settlement

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 10:05 am

Israelis who support Jewish settlements in the West Bank rally against a demolition order for the outpost of Ulpana on Sunday. Israeli courts have ordered the outpost torn down, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government is looking to keep it intact.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Israel's highest court has already ruled that the Jewish settler outpost of Ulpana in the West Bank was built on privately owned Palestinian land.

And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government had pledged to meet a May 1 deadline to dismantle the outpost, which has about 30 homes.

But over the weekend, Netanyahu established a special committee to see how permits could be provided to keep the outpost from being torn down.

This has touched off yet another controversy over settlements, one of the most contentious issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

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7:41am

Sat April 21, 2012
Middle East

Israel Sounds Alarm As Iran Engages In Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 10:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Last weekend's meeting on Iran's controversial nuclear program didn't produce breakthroughs, but the envoys from six world powers and Iran suggested that the talks in Istanbul started a process that could lead to an eventual compromise. But one nation, Israel, was not happy with the results. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Jerusalem.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: While much of the world is relieved that Iran is finally engaged in talks on his suspect nuclear program, Israel is sounding an alarm.

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3:19am

Thu April 12, 2012
Middle East

'One-State' Idea Gains Support Of Some Palestinians

Originally published on Sun April 15, 2012 8:43 am

Palestinian children play next to Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank town of Abu Dis in 2011. As peace talks between Israel and Palestine remain at a standstill, people are looking to other possible solutions.
Bernat Armangue AP

Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians are at a standstill and have been for almost two years. The stated aim of those negotiations is what is known as the "two-state solution," which means the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state existing in peace alongside Israel.

But as hopes for an agreement diminish, Palestinians — and even some Israelis — are now talking about other solutions to the conflict. Among them, the so-called "one-state solution."

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