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The London-based Arabic-language daily A Sharq al Awsat reported Monday that the board of directors of the powerful Egyptian media group Al-Ahram had decided to boycott Israel and Israelis of all positions.

The Al-Ahram group is considered the most powerful media body in Egypt. Al-Ahram publishes newspapers considered to be the official mouthpiece of the Egyptian government.

The boycott, approved by a majority of nine board members over six following a heated debate, includes a ban on meeting with and interviewing Israelis, and a ban on participation in events (seminars, conferences, lectures) in which Israelis are taking part.

According to the report, the board of directors also banned Israelis from entering the building housing the Al-Ahram offices. The ban includes Israeli diplomats stationed in Egypt.

During the same meeting, it was decided to take action on the matter of Dr. Hala Moustafa, the editor of Al-Ahram's Democracy magazine, after she stirred anger and disapproval earlier this month when she met with Israeli ambassador Shalom Cohen.

A statement regarding the board's decision has been personally delivered to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

A senior editor at the Al-Ahram daily said that the Al-Ahram group has always been a supporter of dialogue, and an opponent of discrimination, including discrimination against Israel, but the fact that Israel has "gone against peace and elected an extremist government which opposes peace and supports killing and destruction" had changed the group's outlook.

He added that the group will work toward preventing "normalization" and contact with the Israelis until the achievement of a lasting and just peace, "which means Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories."

Dr. Moustafa said Monday that she had yet to receive any notice regarding the board's decision. However, it is believed that an investigation against her will begin Tuesday. Moustafa said that she will defend her stance and argue that Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty and as such, a meeting with Israel's ambassador is not a violation of Egyptian law.