Associated Newspapers, the owner of the Daily Mail and MailOnline, has apologised to Interpal and paid £120,000 in libel damages after articles suggested the charity has links to terrorists.
The publisher will also pay the trustees’ legal costs. Interpal was represented by Carter-Ruck Solicitors.
Interpal is a UK-registered charity which provides relief and development aid in Palestine. Last August, two articles alleged that it had supported a “hate festival” in Gaza in which children acted out the murder of Jewish people.
An article on 15 August referred to Interpal having been listed in the United States as a “specially designated global terrorist organisation”, giving the impression that it is a terrorist organisation. But it did not state that the US designation was made in 2003, has always been contested by trustees and that the Charity Commission has investigated and found no reason to removed its charity status.
Ibrahim Hewitt, the chair, said: “Interpal and the trustees welcome the decision taken by Associated Newspapers both to apologise formally and pay a suitable sum in damages, in recognition of the gravity of the falsehoods that were published. The timing and amount of the settlement are particularly noteworthy within the context of the ongoing wider agenda to politicise humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
“We hope that this significant success will encourage commentators and others to take seriously their responsibility for reporting unbiased, accurate information to the general public and service providers."
MailOnline apology in full
The publisher said it now accepts that by providing funding for a festival, it did support the content of the play. Apologies have been published on MailOnline, on its app and in the print edition of the Daily Mail.
The correction said: “Articles dated 2 and 15 August claimed that Interpal, a charity supporting Palestinians, funded a 'hate festival' in which children acted out the murder of Jews. In fact, while Interpal donated to the festival, it did not fund or support the play and the trustees of Interpal unequivocally condemned the activities the play depicted.
“It was not our intention to suggest that the trustees promote or condone anti-Semitism or attacks on Jews. The 15 August article also referred to Interpal having been listed as a 'specially designated global terrorist organisation' by the United States.
“We are happy to make clear that this designation, which took place in 2003, has always been strongly contested by Interpal and its trustees, and Interpal continues to operate lawfully within the aegis of the Charity Commission. The trustees assure us, and we accept, that neither Interpal, nor its trustees, have ever been involved in or provided support for terrorist activity of any kind. We apologise to the trustees for any distress caused.”