Yair Lapid makes a speech before 'Yesh Atid' (There is a future) followers in Tel Aviv
Yair Lapid, running for Knesset with his new party 'Yesh Atid' (There is a future). Photo by Alon Ron
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More than 70 rockets and mortar shells on Wednesday were fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel, leaving three wounded. The attack struck the Eshkol Regional Council, Sha'ar Hanegev and the Ashkelon coast. Residents of the area have been asked to remain in bomb shelters.

Israel said that the Emir of Qatar had "thrown peace under the bus" after he visited the Gaza Strip. The visit was the first by a head of state since Hamas seized control of the enclave.

The Syrian government were considering international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi's proposal for a cease-fire, its foreign ministry said.

Amid tightening Western sanctions on Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reaching out to Asian markets as a lifeline.

Palestinian activists on Wednesday blocked the entrance to a major grocery store chain in the West Bank, as part of a campaign to disrupt the daily Israeli life in attempt to draw attention to the occupation.

Senior government officials promised to promote the construction of 90 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Beit El in return for the quiet evacuation of the nearby Ulpana outpost, Haaretz has learned.

Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's views concerning the peace process with the Palestinians during a meeting with French President Francois Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, diplomatic cables show.

Ahead of the upcoming Israeli elections, the leaders of the major political parties were invited to hold a debate on January 1, but it is still possible that none of the candidates will show up, since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet responded.