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The parliament of Spain’s Catalonia region passed a resolution this week accusing Israel of committing apartheid against the Palestinians, the first European legislature to do so, the Times of Israel reported.
The vote came months after the region’s leftist parties proposed the draft resolution, which alleges that Israel has been applying a system that is “contrary to international law and is equivalent to the crime of apartheid as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
The resolution also calls on the semi-autonomous Catalonia and the Spanish government to hold Israel accountable as per the recommendations by rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Middle East Eye noted.
Amnesty International has also called on the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Israel and sanction Israeli officials believed to be complicit in the crime of apartheid.
Apartheid is an international legal term that refers to the systematic oppression of one racial group over another.
The resolution, however, stops short of demanding a boycott against Israel, which many Spanish courts have ruled illegal.
Pro-Palestinian media and the Catalan leftwing En Comu Podem party said the vote was a historic first in the European Union. But centrist parties and pro-Israeli groups criticized the resolution as “an ignominy that accuses of apartheid a nation characterized by a pluralistic and diverse society.”
For its part, Israel has strongly denied accusations of committing apartheid.
Even so, many organizations have labeled Israeli policies as amounting to apartheid in recent years: In 2012, a French parliamentary committee published a report accusing Israel of implementing “apartheid” policies in the West Bank.