Israel, UN sign accord to remove rubble from Gaza

Israel and the United Nations signed an agreement on Wednesday for removal of the rubble from 21 Jewish settlements destroyed in Israel's summer pullout, an Israeli official said. Yossi Tzemach, spokesman for the Israeli liaison mission with Gaza, said Israel will transfer $25 million to the United Nations Development Program, which will bring in Palestinian contractors to remove the rubble. He said UN inspectors carried out an environmental check and found that there were no dangerous materials in the rubble. Much of the remains are to be crushed and used in construction projects in Gaza, Tzemach said. The project will provide jobs for a large number of Palestinians in Gaza, Tzemach added. He did not know when the work would begin.