The owners of the Daily Mail have agreed to pay £120,000 damages plus legal costs to Interpal after it made false terror and extremism allegations against the charity, lawyers have said.
A statement yesterday from the law firm Carter-Ruck said Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail and MailOnline, had agreed to apologise and pay damages to the charity in relation to two stories published in August last year.
The articles falsely alleged that Interpal, which provides relief and development aid to Palestinians in need, had supported a "hate festival" in Gaza in which children acted out the murder of Jewish people.
But the statement said the Daily Mail and MailOnline had now accepted that, although Interpal was among the many organisations that had donated to the festival, it had not funded or supported the play, which formed a very small part of the event, and had no prior knowledge of it.
Trustees of the charity had in fact unequivocally condemned the play as soon as they became aware of it, the statement said.
It said the second article referred to Interpal having been listed in the US as a "specially designated global terrorist organisation", which left readers with the impression that Interpal was a terrorist organisation and that its trustees were therefore to be considered terrorists.
But the statement said the article failed to make clear that the US designation, which was made in 2003, had always been strongly contested by Interpal, that Interpal strongly rejected any suggestion that it in any way supported or was involved with terrorism and that Interpal continued to operate entirely lawfully under the supervision of the Charity Commission.
The statement said the regulator had investigated Interpal on a number of occasions, including after its designation by the US, "and found no reason to alter its charitable status".
Associated Newspapers has printed a correction and apology, which says the charity’s 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".
Ibrahim Hewitt, chair of Interpal, said in a statement: "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."