Photography & Video Photography

2003 Pulitzer finalist - Breaking News Photography

2003 Pulitzer finalist: Breaking News Photography

Carolyn Cole - For her extraordinarily intimate depiction of the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Back to main Pulitzer page ON GUARD: A Palestinian passes through the sanctuary of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity during the last week of the siege. The men inside prayed twice a day, facing the right wall of the church, toward Mecca. Many slept in the sanctuary under blankets with their assault rifles near their heads. They cooked meals of weed soup and fried leaves. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

FIRST LIGHT: As the first light entered a window above the altar of the 4th century church each morning, Palestinians sought the rituals of normal life, such as brewing hot tea. They used camper stoves or candle wax burning in pots to heat water. Wires overhead hold gilded lamps, which the Palestinians rigged to recharge their mobile phones until electricity was cut off by Israeil military. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

BOUND FOR GAZA: Tamer, 23, Khaleel, 23, and Zed, 26, left, were originally from the Gaza Strip but had been in Bethlehem since 1999. Under terms of the settlement, they were sent back to Gaza. Larry Hales, a Colorado man who was among the 10 sympathizers who raced into the church, said the experience was unforgettable. "The most striking thing was walking around and seeing people's faces by candlelight or as they fiddled with a candle," he recalled. "You could hear bats screeching and see their shadows going in and out of the church--it was pretty eerie. It is supposed to be a holy church, but it reminded me of an old Dracula movie." (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

SANCTUARY: During the Israeli assault on Bethlehem, many in the vicinity of the church ran inside, including this Christian, who was sick. Most of the time, he slept by himself in this semicircular area of the church, beneath ancient brass lamps hanging from the ceiling. It became anarea for loners. Walls in the church, which is shaped like a cross, are covered with paintings of Christ, the Virgin Mary and Moses. Many are oils, and some are decorated in gold and silver leaf. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

DAY BREAK: Sunlight awakens only one of more than a dozen Palestinians under blankets in a corner of the sanctuary. The men talked into the early morning and slept late, stowing their assault rifles near their heads, within easy reach. In keeping with the custom of leaving shoes outside their homes, they placed them at the end of the rugs they were sleeping on. The rugs, to stave off cold on the stone floor, were provided by clergymen. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

DOOR OF HUMILITY: Five Palestinians crouch in front of the Door of Humility, the main entrance to the church, for a glimpse outside as monks carry a wounded man to the Israelis for treatment. The heavy wooden door was locked with steel bars and was rarely opened. It simultaneously blocked those inside from freedom and protected them from harm. Outside, Israeli soldiers trained their weapons on it. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

VIEW TO THE OUTSIDE: A half-inch-wide slit in the Door of Humility, which serves as the entrance to the Chruch of the Nativity in Bethlehem, provided the only regular view outside for Palestinians in the standoff with Israeli military. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

BLESSING THE CHURCH: Father Vissarion, right, a Greek Orthodox priest, carries the Holy Fire obtained from His Beatitude Ireneos, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. He and Father Parthenios, holding the incense burner, returned with the flame from an excursion arranged by the Israeli government during the siege. Escorted by the Israeli Defense Forces, the two men left the church for the first time in more than a month. "Streets had become dirt paths wherever the tanks had gone over," Father Parthenios said. "It was like a ghost town because of the curfew." The two priests returned to the Church of the Nativity with the flame seven hours later and were met with applause from those grateful that spiritual traditions had survived amid the terror of warfare. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

HUNGER: Palestinian police officer Najee Abu Abed, who had a piece of shrapnel embedded in his nose, spoons fried lemon leaves into his mouth. As food supplies ran out, men took to picking greens in the rear courtyard and using them for food, either boiled with salt and water into a soup, or fried in old oil, sometimes used in lanterns. The taste was like a light pastry. After leaving the church, Abed had the shrapnel removed by a doctor. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

PRAYING TOWARD MECCA: "The vision of Muslims praying within the main sanctuary is one Father Parthenios will not forget. At 4:30 a.m., noon and 7:30 p.m., the call to worship came--a lone voice echoing against the stones and pillars set in place 1,700 years ago. "In the beginning, it was against our rules," Parthenios explained. But given the circumstances, the church immediately relented. " (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

INSIDE THE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY: A half-inch-wide slit in the Door of Humility, which serves as the entrance to the Chruch of the Nativity in Bethlehem, provided the only regular view outside for Palestinians in the standoff with Israeli military. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

INVENTORY OF GUNS: Palestinian police officer Mohammed Thabet checks the serial number of an AK-47 before it is handed over to U.S. authorities as part of the settlement. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

LAST TO DIE:--Friends comfort a dying Khalaf Najazeh, left, who was shot by an automated Israeli sniper crane. Mohammed Thabet said Najazeh, whose wife had recently delivered their 12th child, was shot as he stood outside the church in a courtyard. Larry Hales said Najazeh had gone to get water to clean his clothes, anticipating that negotiations were about to end the standoff. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

MOST WANTED: The man the Israelis most wanted was Ibrahim Abeiyat, 29, who was exiled to Spain, where his movements are restricted. Israel says that as leader of the Bethlehem branch of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, he was involved in attacks that killed an Israeli army officer, an Israeli civilian and Avi Boaz, a Brooklyn-born architect with dual American-Israeli citizenship. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

SAYING GOODBYE: After the standoff ended, 13 Palestinians considered extremely dangerous by Israel were sent into exile in Europe. Twenty-six others were sent to the Gaza Strip. As the names of those to be sent away were read aloud, some men wept. Then they groomed themselves with shampoo and soap pilfered from the Casanova Hotel and ate a last meal together. The men being exiled lined up near the door for their farewells. Their mood improved. They had survived. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

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