Katsav reacts tepidly to Gaza border deal

President Moshe Katsav gave lukewarm reception Wednesday to a compromise to open Gaza's borders, saying that Israel would have preferred to monitor the crossing directly instead of leaving the job to European monitors. "Of course we would have preferred to have an Israeli presence there to have real-time information, but this is the compromise that was reached," Katsav said speaking to reporters during a visit to Italy. The US-brokered deal was struck Tuesday after marathon negotiations. Katsav is on a three-day visit to Italy that includes talks with the country's top officials and a meeting Thursday with Pope Benedict XVI, in what would be the first official visit to the Vatican by an Israeli head of state.