Inside Story

Egypt and Israel: United in a common cause?

The one time enemies talk trade, tunnels and what they see as terrorism at a time of heightened tensions.

They have been old adversaries and uneasy allies, but Egypt and Israel are finding more in common as they face up to domestic and regional challenges.

Egypt is at the heart of mediation between Israel and Hamas as efforts continue to resolve the conflict in Gaza. Both see a halt to the flow of weapons and fighters through tunnels from Gaza as a security priority.

There is also a shared interest in energy, and how to cope with soaring demand.

Electricity prices have reached record levels in Israel and Egypt is facing some of the most severe summer power shortages in recent memory.

Egypt was a major exporter of gas to Israel. Now there are multi-billion dollar plans to see that flow reversed.

Israel currently has six prospective offshore fields. Negotiations are taking place to pipe gas to liquefaction plants in Egypt, for export and domestic consumption.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority have also been discussing how to develop the Marine gas field off the coast of Gaza. Talks, it’s understood that have not included Hamas.

So are there other agendas at play? And where is the Egyptian-Israeli relationship heading?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Robert Springborg – visiting professor at the War Studies Department at King’s College London.

Omar Ashour – senior lecturer in Middle East Politics and Security Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.

Daniel Levy – director of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and a former advisor to the Israeli prime minister’s office.