By Wendy Lewis and New Worker correspondent
IT IS HARD to maintain optimism about a lasting peace in the Middle East, as Netanyahu's government cranks up the rhetoric; 30 Palestinians and eight Israelis have been killed in recent weeks in escalating violence.
Israeli soldiers have opened fire on Palestinian protesters and raided refugee camps, while armed settlers and racist vigilantes have rampaged through Palestinian areas shouting: "Death to Arabs" in response to knife attacks.
Thousands of soldiers patrol Jerusalem and Palestinians have been banned from the Old City.
Palestine Solidarity Cymru called a vigil in Cardiff to demand an end to the violence last Saturday 17th October when similar pro-Palestinian demonstrations were happening all round the world.
Côr Cochion sang Palestinian peace songs: Biladi, La Tasalny and Yamma, which the choir had learnt during its first visit to the Occupied Territories in 1994.
Many Palestinians in the crowd joined in the singing, and the vigil attracted a positive response from the many French and Irish rugby fans visiting the capital for the Rugby World Cup.
In spite of the tragic events of the past weeks, a sense of shared purpose gave strength to our determination to continue to work for justice in Palestine.
In the words of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti: "The last day of occupation will be the first day of peace."
Meanwhile in London hundreds took part in two pro-Palestinian demonstrations – one in Kensington High Street near the Israeli embassy and the other a sit-down protest in Piccadilly Circus that halted London traffic for some time.
All around the world – in Paris, New York, Chicago and many other places, mass protests were demanding an end to the siege of Gaza and the illegal occupation of the West Bank.