| The Israeli government has accused the BBC of competing with
the "worst of Nazi propaganda" and severed ties with the corporation
over a documentary broadcast internationally over the weekend.|
BBC journalists will still be able to report from Israel, but the government will no longer invite corporation journalists to special briefings or grant them interviews.
The Israeli government has been critical of the BBC's coverage of the three-year-old Palestinian uprising and saw the international broadcast of the documentary, Israel's Secret Weapon, on the country's alleged nuclear and chemical weapons programmes on Saturday as the last straw.
"The way the BBC is trying to portray Israel competes with the worst of Nazi propaganda," the Israeli government's press office head, Danny Seaman, told Reuters.
"In the guise of journalistic integrity it lends support to evil portrayals of Israel and the Jewish people which has been done before in the gravest circumstances," Mr Seaman added.
"The programme tried to show that we don't abide by international law. There was a decision by the state of Israel to cut off all contacts with the BBC because of what we feel to be a bias and an anti-Israel line apparent in a series of programmes that portray Israel in a very evil light."
A BBC spokesman said the corporation stood by its programme, which was first broadcast in the UK in March and then shown abroad at the weekend.
"We regret any response that the Israeli government might make that would hinder our journalism," the spokesman added.
"It's unfortunate such strong language is beig used. However we stand by the programme which was a well-researched piece of journalism," he added.
Israel's Secret Weapons focused mainly on the country's nuclear programme, but a BBC script of the show alleged that Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip had used a new gas in February 2001 that put 180 people in hospital.
The Israeli government is planning to continue its non-cooperation policy until it believes the BBC is behaving in a "professional and balanced manner", Mr Seaman said.
In the meantime, government officials will not help BBC journalists get quick press accreditation, bypass red tape to get work visas or get through army roadblocks in Palestinian areas.
The BBC said it had not received any formal notification from the Israeli government that they had withdrawn co-operation. "We have a long standing relationship with the Israeli government and we hope that continues," it said.