Ismail Haniyeh elected as new Hamas president

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"Electing Haniya and holding the well-organised internal elections on time were made in spite of the situation that Hamas is passing through", said al-Qanoua, adding "this reflects how powerful Hamas movement is".

The 54-year-old with a salt-and-pepper beard takes charge of Hamas as it seeks to ease its worldwide isolation while not marginalising hardliners within the movement.

President Abbas said that their strategic option and choice is to bring about peace based on the vision of the two-state, a Palestinian state with its capital of East Jerusalem that lives in peace and stability with the state of Israel based on the borders of 1967.

It also says its struggle is not against Jews due to their religion but against Israel as an occupier.

Ismail Haniya, a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, could help bring Hamas back into the worldwide conversation.

The new charter also abandons past references to the pan-national Muslim Brotherhood, to which it was closely linked when formed, likely as a gesture to Egyptian President President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who as army chief overthrew his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and has since led a bloody crackdown on the Brotherhood.

"Hamas is ready to initiate a new phase of its history".

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Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007.

The announcement comes shortly after Gaza's rulers unveiled a new, seemingly more pragmatic political program aimed at ending the group's global isolation.

His position got enhanced in Hamas during Al-Aqsa Intifada because of his relationship with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and because of the Israeli assassinations of the movement's leaders.

"His departure from the Strip will be assessed by the Hamas leadership in accordance with future evaluations", the spokesman said. Furthermore, in 2012, Haniya was elected as Hamas's deputy chief, Khaled Meshaal's leading movement.

On 16 February 2006, Hamas nominated him for the post of Palestinian prime minister, and On June 30, 2006, the Israeli government threatened to assassinate him unless the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released.

An influential military figure, he represents for some the hardest line within the Islamist movement. Prior to that, for 10 years, he worked for Hamas charities as well as at the Islamic University of Gaza. The U.S. has long considered the group a terrorist organization because of its attacks against Israel.

Founded in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, a close ally, Islamic Jihad is the second force in the Gaza Strip and focused entirely on the armed struggle.