(Communicated by the President’s spokesman)
Two new ambassadors presented their credentials to the President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katsav, this morning.

In his meeting with the ambassadors President Katsav discussed the relations between Israel and the Palestinians and noted that the people of Israel are moving between optimism and pessimism. On the one hand, the number of terrorist attacks against the citizens of Israel has decreased but, on the other hand, the power of the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad is becoming strong and they are continuing to fire missiles at Israeli settlements. The President emphasized that Israel is not interested in escalation but is obliged to act in order  to prevent terrorist attacks. The President expressed the hope that after the elections in the Palestinian Authority the chances of peace would increase.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Peru, Mr. Luis Mendivil Canales, stated that his country wishes to deepen its relations with Israel and emphasized its commitment, as a member of the Security Council, to fight in order to promote peace in the Middle East.

The Ambassador of Ukraine, Mr. Ihor Tymofieiev, noted that his country is interested in strengthening its cooperation with Israel, especially in the economic field.  The Ambassador described the political and economic situation in his country and the preparations being made for elections which are due to take place in March 2006.

Both ambassadors asked the President to convey wishes for a speedy recovery to the Prime Minister, Mr. Ariel Sharon on behalf of the Presidents of their countries.