(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met this evening (Tuesday), 1 February 2005, with German President Horst Köhler.

Prime Minister Sharon briefed his guest on the situation vis-a-vis the Palestinians. The Prime Minister said that while there had been quiet for a few days, the situation had changed yesterday: “The Palestinians must understand that Israel will not compromise on the security issue.”

Prime Minister Sharon said that he was disappointed to see that in a survey carried out at the University of Bielefeld over 50% of respondents equated Israeli policy toward the Palestinians with Nazi policies toward the Jews, and 68% claimed that Israel is waging a war of annihilation against the Palestinians: “This survey shows that great efforts must be invested in education and information in order to prevent severe anti-Semitism from expanding further.”

Prime Minister Sharon said that he was very concerned about anti-Semitism and sees it as a great danger to Israel and the Jews: “We understand the new political forces but Europe must invest more in the struggle against anti-Semitism.”

German President Köhler said that Germany supports Israel’s position that terrorism must stop and told Prime Minister Sharon that he intends to visit Sderot tomorrow in order to express the German people’s protest against the firing of Kassam rockets.

German President Köhler said that he was also worried about anti-Semitism in Germany in particular and in Europe in general. He said that there is new anti-Semitism directed against Israel and, to a certain degree, against the US. The struggle against anti-Semitism must be an integrated struggle that includes the judicial and law enforcement systems; Germany is ready to fight this phenomenon.

German President Köhler said that relations between Germany and Israel were strengthening and that everything must be done on order to improve them further.

Prime Minister Sharon said that if Europe’s position towards the Arab-Israeli conflict would be more balanced, Europe could be more involved in the process. As long as Europe’s position is biased, Israel will find it difficult to see it as an involved mediator despite the fact that there are many issues regarding which we would like to see greater involvement.

The two men also discussed how to improve Israel’s economic situation and foreign investment possibilities in Israel, as well as the issues of Iran, Syria and Hizbullah.