Hamas's former chief in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, has been elected overall head of the Palestinian Islamist group, succeeding Khaled Meshaal, its official media announced on Saturday.
The newly-elected leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, has pledged his support for the Palestinian political prisoners now waging a historic mass strike in Israeli cells.
Hamas is branded a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union, and the new document is aimed in part at easing its global isolation.
"Rebranding" in particular needs to show Hamas as an Islamic national liberation movement, not a branch of the fundamentalist organization "Muslim brotherhood".
It has also dropped explicit language calling for Israel's destruction, though it retains the goal of eventually "liberating" all of historic Palestine, which includes what is now Israel.
The strike is being led by Marwan Barghouti, a member of Fatah - a rival political faction to Hamas.
Hamas in its new document agrees to a transitional Palestinian state within frontiers pre-dating a 1967 war but continues to refuse to recognize a right for Israel to exist and backs an "armed struggle", while Abbas recognizes Israel and seeks a final peace agreement based on those lines.
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But Al-Ahmed also said Hamas must give up its control of Gaza, something Haniyeh has refused to do.
Meshaal departs from the post after steering Hamas through numerous crises, including several Israeli wars launched against the Gaza Strip.
Israel, along with Egypt, has been enforcing a border blockade against the group since then.
Haniyeh was named Palestinian prime minister in 2006, after Hamas defeated the Fatah movement in parliament elections. Sitting behind his desk with tense music playing in the background, he said that in its "hateful document", Hamas "lies to the world". After Israel assassinated Sheikh Yassin and his replacement Abd al-Aziz Rantisi in 2004, the movement's leadership chose to move its activities outside the Palestinian territories, far away from the Israeli air force. "He still lives in the refugee camp, but I think he will move to Qatar because he has a lot of responsibilities outside Gaza".
Egypt on Saturday reopened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip for three days to allow hundreds of stranded Palestinians to return home, officials said.
Despite Haniyeh's reputation as an affable leader who helped push Hamas to compete in elections that were expected to moderate the organization, the years of conflict with Israel and estrangement from Fatah have hardened the newly elected political leader and made him more inclined to go along with the military wing, said one analyst.