In the 1990s, efforts were made to improve relations between the two countries and a defence cooperation agreement was signed. However, due to traditional Palestinian support for Greece, there were tensions over Greek preference for Arabs and support for Palestinian political violence (notably under the leadership of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, 1981-89 and 1993-96) , as well as Israeli military cooperation with Turkey and controversies over the Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem.  Bilateral trade doubled between 1989 and 1995. This year, Israel exported $200 million in petroleum products to Greece and imported $150 million worth of cement, food and building materials. [Citation required] The recent announcement comes weeks after Turkey and Libya signed an agreement on maritime borders in the Mediterranean that could complicate Ankara`s disputes with countries in the region. Israel, Greece and Cyprus signed an agreement on Thursday on a huge pipeline project to ship gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe despite Turkey`s hostility to the agreement. Part of the agreement establishes a maritime border between the two countries which, according to Greece, does not take into account the Greek island of Crete. Greek lawmakers on Tuesday ratified an agreement with Israel on public procurement of defense equipment and services, which is seen as strengthening relations between the two energy allies in the eastern Mediterranean. The agreement, said Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, builds on the progress made last year with the Agreement on the EastMed pipeline between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, and comes just weeks after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis led a delegation of ministers and business representatives on a trip to Jerusalem, where he held talks with his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
“We are committed to intensifying contacts for the production of defence equipment with Israeli companies interested in synergies and cooperation, including co-production in Greece, with Greek defence companies,” Panagiotopoulos said. “I expect that an important step will be taken from next month and that concrete proposals will be put on the table.” The agreement was approved by lawmakers with new ruling democracy, centre-left movement for change and Greek nationalist solution. The left-wing SYRIZA, which began talks with Israel in 2016 on cooperation in the fields of energy, defence and security, voted “currently,” while the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the left-wing MeRA25 voted against the deal. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that no project can continue without his country`s agreement following a maritime border agreement signed by Ankara with the Libyan government in Tripoli. SYRIZA parliamentary spokeswoman Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou said the party could not vote in favor of the deal on Israeli annexation plans in the West Bank.