The Israeli boycott of the BBC is being lifted, the Foreign Ministry announced yesterday. The announcement came in the wake of a joint declaration on a commitment to objective coverage of Middle East events and the BBC's decision to appoint a special adviser on Middle Eastern affairs.
For its part, Israel has undertaken to once again invite BBC reporters to official briefings, to grant the corporation interviews with official representatives, and to cooperate with BBC journalists, as in the past.
The decision to boycott the BBC was made in July, following the second airing of a program entitled "Israel's Secret Weapons," in which, according to Israeli sources, Israel was likened to Iran and North Korea and was presented, in a demonic fashion, as a totalitarian state that is accumulating nuclear arms without supervision and at will.
The dispute was eventually settled following meetings between Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir and the BBC's Mark Byford, the director of the network's world news service.
"We will maintain an ongoing dialogue, at senior levels, with all the sides, including the Israeli government, with regard to our coverage," Byford said yesterday.
According to Meir, "The understandings were reached in agreement with the foreign minister and in coordination with the Prime Minister's Office. We welcome the new appointment and expect it to contribute to the changes called for in the character of the broadcasts, as well as an improvement in the relations between us and the BBC."
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