Despite early assurances by Egypt’s new President Mohammed Morsi regarding his “commitment to international treaties and agreements,” one can already foretell a likely confrontation between Egypt and Israel. A chaotic transition notwithstanding, a new, post-revolution Egypt is emerging. It is is more self-assertive, emphasizing issues of national dignity and respect. In fact, the word ‘Karama’ - dignity in Arabic - is now paramount in the budding discourse. The key to understanding post-January 2011 Egypt is to appreciate the inferred but real transformation of the collective psyche or Egyptian society, one that is unequivocally challenging the denigrating stereotype of Egyptians as docile and submissive.
This would mean that neither President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis, the liberals nor even the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) could steer Egypt in the sole direction of their own interests. Thus Morsi’s words in Tahrir Square on June 29 were by no means detached from a parallel reality of heightened expectations. In fact, no matter how fervent and ardently clear in his rhetoric, Morsi could barely keep up with what the chanting millions expected of him. He said, “I will endeavor to regain Egypt’s free will in its foreign relations. I will abolish all meanings of subordination to any power whatsoever. Egypt is free in all its actions and discourses.”
True, Morsi did state that Egypt would honor its international commitments, as it most likely will, and insinuated that Camp David is one of these. But the peace treaty with Israel is no ordinary ‘commitment’.