WEST BANK, West Bank (Reuters) – Lodz International, one of the world’s largest textile manufacturers, said on Thursday it was suspending production and halting work for two weeks in an effort to stem a strike by workers at a factory that produces clothing for the European Union.
The textile industry in the West Bank is a major source of foreign direct investment and a major supplier of raw materials to Europe.
The company said it had asked the government for the support of the European Commission.
The European Commission is investigating the strike.
Lodz’s European headquarters in Lodz, Poland, is in Lodze, the largest city in the Polish-administered West Bank, where the textile industry has been operating since the 1950s.
The Lodz plant produces clothing and textile products for the United Nations and several major European countries.
The United States has been a main partner in Lodza’s textile industry.
The EU, which includes the West and the Gaza Strip, has a free trade agreement with Israel.
In an e-mailed statement, the European commission said it would continue to closely monitor the situation and take all necessary action to protect the workers and the environment.
“It is essential that the working conditions at Lodz and the textile sector are met, including the implementation of the commitments made under the agreement,” the commission said.
Lodza has said it has taken several measures to improve conditions and said it was “ready to resume production.”
The company had said it planned to resume its textile production in Israel.
“The textile industry is a big source of export income for Lodza,” Lodz CEO Ewa Sienkiewicz said in a statement.
“We will continue to take all the necessary measures to protect our workers and environment.”
She said the textile plant had been closed to prevent any disruption in production and was operating under the control of the Israeli company that supplies it.
The workers said in their statement on Thursday that they would not be working until the textile factory resumed production.
They said that the factory would be closed again in six weeks, if the strike continues.
The strike is part of a growing trend in the textile world.
On Monday, the World Trade Organization said it will take further action against garment producers, as well as the United States, China and other countries that are boycotting Israel over settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“There is no doubt that the textile industries are a vital source of livelihoods for millions of people in the world,” said John F. Kelly, an associate professor of law at the University of Chicago who has studied textile strikes and is an expert on international trade law.
More than 2.7 million Palestinians live in the Gaza strip, including a majority of Palestinian refugees, according to the United Nation’s refugee agency.
The Palestinian Authority has said Israel is violating international law by building illegal settlements there.
Israel says it is building the settlements to provide security.
Israel has said the settlements, which are part of the pre-1967 Green Line line, are meant to be an obstacle to Palestinian statehood.
The settlements are not recognized internationally as a part of Israel and are illegal under international law.
Israel and the Palestinians have fought three wars since the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel captured the West to the north and Gaza to the south.
Israel considers the West occupied territory and seeks to keep it as part of its territory.
Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move never recognized internationally.
Palestinians say they need to build an independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, to survive.
Israeli authorities say the West bank is under threat of imminent destruction from Hamas and other armed groups.
The Israeli army said on Monday that it was planning to cut off the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, by cutting off the entire highway that passes through it.
Palestinians, who have built thousands of kilometers of roads under Israeli occupation and the use of Israeli forces to build them, said they were planning to use the roads to reach the West banks and the sea.
In response, Israel has warned of more protests planned in the weeks ahead.
The Israeli army on Wednesday warned the protesters that they could face arrest and a heavy fine if they attempted to march to the West Wall, or to the Temple Mount, the site of the Jewish religious site where Jews believe they are being held by Muslims.