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Photojournalist caught up in West Bank conflict pens book

A photojournalist who got caught up in the conflict between Israel and Palestine on a visit to the region has written a book about the trip.

Garry Cook, who has freelanced for a number of regional dailies and national newspapers, has written Palestiniana – a travelogue of his five-day trip to the West Bank last November.

His visit took place during a week when the long-running conflict escalated into a war and his book combines the history of the dispute with an account of his shambolic trip.

Garry was previously freelance sub-editor at the Lancashire Telegraph, Lancashire Evening Post and Blackpool Gazette and has also been a freelance writer for the Sunday Sun in Newcastle.

He has also written a number of books, including two children’s stories about a mischievous black dog called Albert the Pug.

Garry was invited to the region to attend Palestine National Youth Week but instead was caught up in a series of activism events which increasingly raised tensions with the Israeli army, culminating in an unexpected dinner date with the Palestine Military General on the night Israel launched a series of bombing raids across the region.
Said Garry: “My visit to the West Bank was a mixture of calamity and shock. The calamity was in the disorganisation of the trip, being taken to the wrong hotel and made to share an apartment with an ever-increasing number of strangers, then going on sightseeing tours on a wet, leaky bus and not seeing any sites. The first thing we actually achieved as a group of activists was to accidently kill a dog.
“The shock was experiencing the living conditions many Palestinians have to endure, seeing how the huge wall has strangled communities. I also heard how brutally many Palestinians have been treated at the hands of the Israeli army.
“After I completed a project called Outsiders, which featured interviews with a Palestinian and Israeli teenager, the most common question I was asked by younger people was, ‘who is to blame for the problem between Israel and Palestine?’. It’s a very difficult question to answer.
“The complexity of the situation is one reason the conflict has not been resolved. I wanted to write something which makes this incredibly complex subject just a little easier to understand.
“I’ve wrapped up the history of Jews and Palestinians in Israel in a travelogue detailing my time in the beautiful West Bank, one of the most stunning and history-filled landscapes in the world.”

The foreword to Palestiniana, which includes images from the West Bank and Jerusalem, was written by Yvonne Ridley, a journalist and human rights activist once captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The book is available from Amazon.