Hamas says Ismail Haniyeh chosen as Islamic group's leader

CNN's headline on the new Hamas document reads: "Hamas says it accepts '67 borders, but doesn't recognize Israel".

NY [U.S.], May 7: Gaza based Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on Saturday elected Ismail Haniya as its new political chief, replacing Qatar based veteran Khaled Meshaal.

Haniyeh arrived at the tent in a white SUV, accompanied by bodyguards.

This shift comes at a time of growing financial pressure on the territory by Western-backed Abbas, who in recent weeks has been trying to force the group to cede ground in Gaza.

Haniyeh called for Palestinian reconciliation with Fatah movement and he expressed he is ready to relinquish the premiership within the framework of comprehensive reconciliation.

After a year in exile, he returned to Gaza.

"The question is how is Hamas going to build on this momentum", he said, speaking in English.

The Israeli government has said the document is aimed to deceive the world Hamas is becoming more moderate.

For the time being, Hamas seeks to maintain the status quo in the conflict with Israel.

This is Haniyeh, the Gazan Hamas terror leader who has risen in the ranks to head the Hamas political bureau. Also, the new document rejects the Oslo Accords, under which the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized the right of Israel to exist. Hamas, especially much of its leadership in Gaza, definitely advocates violence against Israeli Jews and Israel.

"Hamas murders women and children, it's launched tens of thousands of missiles at our homes, it brainwashes Palestinian kids in suicide kindergarten camps", he added.

Since quitting his longtime base in Damascus in 2012, Mashaal has mostly lived in lavish suites in the capital of the oil rich gulf state of Qatar. "This is probably an indication of the increase of the power of the inside - particularly the military wing".

Israel, along with Egypt, has been enforcing a crippling border blockade against them since then. In February, he was elected Hamas leader for Gaza, a post that makes him Haniyeh's deputy.

Israeli airstrike targeted an apartment block in Gaza City. Last week, the Abbas government said it would stop paying for much of the electricity, raising the prospect of even further power cuts. Egypt controls the only non-Israeli land crossing to Gaza, and its opening is vital for the livelihood of nearly 2 million stranded Gazans.

Two other major offensives took place in 2008 and 2014, all resulting in massive civilian deaths and injuries, and the destruction of Gaza's precarious infrastructure.

Haniyeh was named Palestinian prime minister in 2006, after Hamas defeated Fatah movement in parliament elections.

Haniyeh, who hails from the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza, was widely expected to be the next top Hamas leader.

Hamas rules the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Authority, dominated by Abbas's Fatah party, controls the West Bank.


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