The BBC has bowed to an Israeli demand for a written apology from its deputy bureau chief in Jerusalem, Simon Wilson, who was barred from the country for failing to submit for censorship an interview with the nuclear whistleblower, Mordechai Vanunu.
Mr Wilson was allowed to return to Israel on Thursday after signing a letter to the government acknowledging that he defied the law by ignoring demands from the security service and military censors to view tapes of an interview with Mr Vanunu after he was released from 19 years in prison last year.
The climbdown has angered some BBC journalists, who say it will compromise their work in Israel.
The agreement was to have remained confidential, but the BBC unintentionally posted details on its website before removing them a few hours later.
Officials of Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, demanded a letter of apology and a promise not to re-offend when the authorities refused to extend Mr Wilson's work permit at the end of last year and barred him from re-entering Israel. At the time, the BBC said it could not meet such a demand.
The BBC website said Mr Wilson had now acknowledged to the Israeli government that he was in the wrong.
"He confirms that after the Vanunu interview he was contacted by the censors and was asked to give them the tapes. He did not do so. He regrets the difficulties this caused," the BBC statement said.
"He undertakes to obey the regulations in future and understands that any further violation will result in his visa being revoked."
Mr Wilson was not available for comment.
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem Saturday March 12, 2005 © Guardian.