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  Wiinners Gallery | Newspaper Photographer of the Year | Third Place

Third Place
Rick Loomis The Los Angeles Times
"Roadblocks to Peace"

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  Over 20 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated himself on a crowded Jerusalem bus shattering an already fragile ceasefire.

Four years ago, the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians devolved once again into a daily exchange of violence that has deepened the divide between the two sides. Jewish and Palestinian mothers alike are left to mourn the mounting loss of life as long-standing roadblocks to peace resurface and new ones arise. Both Palestinians and Israelis claim Jerusalem as their capital and holy ground. More than 4 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan have been holding out hope that they will return to homes they fled more than five decades ago. Meanwhile, resolute Jewish settlers view this land as their birthright and have moved by the thousands to West Bank and Gaza settlements to fortify Israeli positions. These frontier areas are frequently targeted by Palestinian militants, who also dispatch suicide bombers into the heart of Israeli cities to induce as much carnage as possible. These attacks have prompted Israel to build a 'security fence' designed to keep out Palestinian terrorists, reassure the Israeli population and solidify Israel's claim to the land. But that fence has also compounded the daily misery of Palestinians who must travel to work inside Israel. With the death of long-time Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2004, hope remains that these roadblocks can be overcome and a lasting peace can be achieved.



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