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Hamas selects popular Gaza politician Ismail Haniyeh as its new leader

Hamas selects popular Gaza politician Ismail Haniyeh as its new leader

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend lambasted several media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, for reporting that Hamas' new charter signals the group now accepts the existence of Israel and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Haniyeh's election came days after Hamas released a new manifesto, in which the terror group attempted to rebrand itself as the leader of the Palestinian national movement and downplayed its goal of destroying Israel.

Hamas ignored this dismissal, leaving a Haniyeh-led Hamas government in place in Gaza, while Abbas appointed a rival administration in the West Bank.

"Ismail Haniya is the most appropriate person to promote this document to Arab and global leaders", said Gaza political scientist Mukhaimer Abu Saada.

Al-Kieli also said that the order was unfair to Gaza, and is simply part of Abbas' efforts to prevent funding from reaching Hamas.

Last week, Hamas unveiled a new policy document that presents softened language on Israel, while still calling for its destruction.

Others warn however that Hamas still has much to do to significantly change the global community's attitude toward it, with many pointing out that it has not recognised Israel. The two groups had a violent falling out in 2007, when Hamas fighters ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip.

The balance of power within Hamas, which Israel, the United States, and much of the West define as a terrorist organization, has been shifting to Gaza, experts say.

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He obtained his high school degree from Al-Azhar institution in Gaza and went on to graduate from the Islamic University of Gaza in Arabic Literature studies, in 1987.

In the clip Netanyahu called the policy paper a "hateful document", and claimed that Hamas was lying to the world.

Describe as "relatively unknown" to some foreign media before, he was under the spotlight after leading the Hamas movement that won the Palestinian legislative election of January 2006 and was named as Prime Minister.

"It's bad enough Hamas lies to the world, we don't also have to lie to ourselves".

Many Western countries classify Hamas as a terrorist group over its failure to renounce violence, recognise Israel's right to exist and accept existing interim Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements. Palestinian suffering must end, and can only end when the many Palestinians who want peace and a better future for their families can speak freely and choose new leaders who will lead them to dignity and self-determination through peaceful coexistence with Israel.

"Hamas will intensify relations with those already talking to it and could possibly surprise all the critics and create huge embarrassment for Abbas", the official said on condition of anonymity.

Haniya climbed the ranks within the movement as a close aide and assistant of Hamas' cofounder, the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, in 1997.

Osama Hamdan, a senior spokesman for Hamas, told Al Jazeera that the timing of the change was in accordance with Hamas's internal rules that limits the terms of leaders of its political bureau.


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