The Top 8 Headlines You Might Have Missed / Haaretz Newsline, July 12

From Olmert having no intention to return to politics, to U.S. building naval power in Persian Gulf; sums up the top headlines from Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish World.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday he has no intention to return to politics, days after he was acquitted on two of three counts of corruption, adding that he would remain a member of the Kadima party and would not move to form another political entity.

The United States is building up its navel power in the Persian Gulf in response to threats by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz in case of further sanctions, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday. The report came after U.S. defense officials told the New York Times that American forces have been introduced into the Persian Gulf in an attempt to deter Iran from blocking the strategic waterway, and to increase strike capability in case the nuclear standoff with Iran escalates to a military confrontation.

In the meantime, a prominent Iranian opposition figure and former interior minister has called for a national referendum on the country's nuclear program, the opposition website Jaras reported Thursday.

Syrian Activists in the Kfar Souseh neighborhood of Damascus said Assad's forces were firing mortar rounds into orchards on the outskirts of the city, apparently trying to flush out rebels taking cover there.

A Palestinian was killed and four people were wounded following separate attacks by Israeli military forces on suspected militants near the Israel-Gaza border on Thursday. According to an IDF spokesperson, the forces identified hitting the target, with Palestinian sources reporting three men were wounded in the incident.

A 42-year-old man was shot to death overnight Thursday near the promenade that straddles the Tel Aviv-Jaffa border. The victim, David Hokek, served as a state witness in a case against the Rohan crime family of central Israel. As a result of his testimony, 14 individuals were convicted on gambling and embezzlement charges.

Prof. Yedidia Stern, a member of the state-sanctioned Plesner committee on Haredi IDF service, says that if the report issued by the committee will become a law, it could alienate Haredim more than it would integrate them into Israeli society.

The National Emergency Authority (NEA), which operates under the aegis of the Home Front Defense Ministry, recently completed formulating a first-ever national master plan for contending with a large-scale earthquake in Israel. The plan, designated to address a scenario in which an earthquake causes at least 7,000 deaths, includes the initial rehabilitation stages of population sectors left homeless in the quake.