Hamas elects new leader on Saturday

The Rafah border crossing opened for three days starting on Saturday

The Rafah border crossing opened for three days starting on Saturday

The site said Rajoub offered Haniyeh his congratulations.

The two Palestinian factions entered a bitter conflict in 2007 when Hamas brutally ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip after the latter lost the National Palestinian elections. Analysts said that in trying to create a compromise among opposing factions, the new document failed to fully satisfy any of them.

Haniyeh was born in 1963 in the Gaza Strip.

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas elected ex-Gaza Strip chief Ismail Haniya as its new leader on Saturday, days after revising its founding charter to ease its stance on Israel.

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Mr Haniya is seen as a pragmatist who will try to ease Hamas's global isolation.

The next step for Hamas should be to move in the direction of the two-state solution. Trump has said he is working toward what he calls the "ultimate deal" between Israel and the Palestinians.

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.

Osama Hamdan, a senior spokesman for Hamas, said that the timing of the change was in accordance with Hamas's internal rules that limits the terms of leaders of its political bureau. In recent weeks, Abbas has threatened to exert financial pressure, including cutting wage payments and aid to Gaza, as a way of forcing Hamas to cede ground.

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Following Abbas' order, Hamas Treasurer Youssuf Al-Kieli announced that Abbas' order was illegal and therefore would not be implemented.According to Al-Kieli, these types of orders, when signed by Abbas, must first be approved by the Palestinian Legislative Committee.

Gaza residents have been enduring worsening power cuts and now live with rolling blackouts - six hours on, 12 hours off - that have further crippled an economy devastated by conflict.

Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the PA's Civil Affairs Department, said Hamas profits from collecting electricity payments from Gaza residents.

The decree also exempts Palestinians in Gaza from paying the Value Added Tax (VAT) in an attempt to deprive Hamas from collecting those tax revenues.

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