Earlier this month, Greece and Egypt signed an agreement formally demarcating the border between their respective coastal waters—undoubtedly in response to a similar agreement concluded by Turkey and Libya last November. Most immediately, these efforts reflect Turkey’s attempt to lay claim to natural gas and oil in the parts of the eastern Mediterranean previously claimed by Greece. Ankara and Cairo, meanwhile, are backing competing sides of the Libyan civil war, and thus Athens and Cairo are eager to help one another against a common enemy. As Israel has good relations with Greece and Egypt, and all three—together with Cyprus and Jordan—are part of a regional consortium for sharing offshore energy resources, it naturally inclines toward the Greco-Egyptian side. Gallia Lindenstrauss and Ofir Winter explain:
Egypt sees the demarcation of its maritime boundary with Greece as an additional boost to the flourishing strategic ties between the two states. It seeks to define a red line for Turkish activity in the eastern Mediterranean, after setting a red line in Libya.
Israel must prepare for a variety of potential scenarios in the Greek-Egyptian confrontation with Turkey, including a military confrontation between Turkey and its rivals, an ongoing diplomatic campaign, and pragmatic understandings between the parties. While it is clear which side Israel supports, . . . there are prices for Israel being drawn into the Greek-Turkish conflict and into the conflict in Libya, including the need to dedicate increasing attention to the region at a time of multiple domestic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the already existing external challenges. . . . While most Turkish activity in the region is viewed negatively by Jerusalem, only a portion of it actually represents a direct threat to Israel and requires its response.
The creation of hard blocs in the eastern Mediterranean will further aggravate the rivalry between Turkey and Israel. Deeper rifts between the competing camps, which will lead to an accelerated arms race by regional naval and air forces and challenge the existing balance of power, are also not desirable for Israel.
Read more on Institute for National Security Studies: https://www.inss.org.il/publication/egypt-greece-agreement/