For years, the Israeli right has denounced any European Union (EU) protest against the settlement enterprise, which the Europeans claimed undermined the peace process. This time around, there have been more varied reactions in the Israeli government to the EU decision to refrain from signing agreements with Israeli organizations and companies operating in the territories across the Green Line. Aside from the fierce criticism against the new EU sanctions, concern was voiced by the right over the potentially adverse effects of the move on the peace process.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would have expected those truly interested in promoting peace and stability in the region to deal with the civil war in Syria and the Iranian nuclear program, and leave the settlements issue to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and current Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Zeev Elkin (both settlers), known for their “concern” for the fate of the Oslo agreement and the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, proposed to penalize the Europeans by driving them out of the political process and cutting off contact with them on the Palestinian issue.