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New Hamas program to contain softer language, some old goals

"Our position on Hamas remains unchanged", a State Department official speaking on condition of anonymity told Anadolu Agency.

(AP Photo/Adel Hana, File).

Sumaya al-Dahshan, a female Hamas member, said the rallies aim to pile pressure for breaking the siege on Gaza.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - The Islamic militant Hamas on Monday unveiled what had been billed as a new, seemingly more pragmatic political program aimed at ending the group's worldwide isolation.

Hamas has also dropped its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, which will be welcome news in Cairo, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - two nations with deep pockets where the Brotherhood is branded a terrorist organisation.

If there is a new push for the creation of a Palestinian state, Hamas wants to be part of it. He also claimed that the terror organization ruling in the Gaza Strip "rejected extremism on a religious, ethnic or racial background".

Hamas clung to hard-line positions that led to its isolation in the first place.

Snippets of the document, which Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal will release Monday, have been leaking out for weeks.

Palestinian activist, Raja Abdulhaq, doesn't think that there "is a new initiative or new policy" but rather "a new way of qualifying what Hamas has been endorsing for the past 60 years".

A copy of the program was distributed to journalists in Gaza who followed the news conference by video link.

In his remarks, Hamas chief Mashal reiterated that their struggle against Israeli Jews was not over faith, but "Zionist" occupation.

Abbas adviser Nabil Shaath said the Palestinian leader can not budge on the issue.

And Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas will be welcomed to the White House by President Trump on Wednesday as the latter is eager to forge a Mideast peace deal.

Palestinian men carry the body of Mohammed Ali, covered in a Hamas flag, during his funeral in the East Jerusalem refugee camp of Shuafat, in an area Israel annexed to Jerusalem after capturing it in the 1967 Middle East war, January 5, 2016.

His assertion came a day after Hamas announced a new political charter that envisages a Palestine with its 1967 borders.

The group is updating its 1988 founding document that called for the destruction of Israel and justification of violence to recreate Palestine. No recognition of the legitimacy of the "Zionist entity".

"Until Hamas recognises Israel's right to exist, its words are meaningless".

The document, presented by the group's leadership in Doha on Monday, appears to soften its stance on Israel.

It comes after the Gaza-based militants revised their 1988 charter to say they would be open to the possibility of a settlement with Israel based on the 1967 borders, arguing that this would them "connect" with the world.

The new Hamas charter says "Palestine is a land whose status has been elevated by Islam" that "was seized by a racist, anti-human and colonial Zionist project" and carries "the sublime objective of liberation".

Commenting on the Israel's reaction to the new charter, Ghussain said the "world didn't need to hear from the occupier" - but they needed to hear from Palestinians themselves.

Even now, Hamas considers such a state as an interim step, not a way to end the conflict.


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