Katsav: Israel-Palestinian rift 'deeper than ever'

Israeli President Moshe Katzav on Sunday sharply criticized the Palestinians' Hamas-led government, saying it had made the rift with Israel "deeper than ever." Katzav, who has largely ceremonial functions, warned that Hamas' refusal to denounce violence and to endorse past peace agreements would force Israel to take unilateral actions to secure peace. "Israel wants to negotiate with the Palestinians to reach a final solution of the conflict," Katzav told reporters in Sofia after meeting Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov. "But as long as Hamas continues to support terror, refuses to recognize Israel and defies commitments made by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, Israel has to find alternative ways to protect its citizens