File - In this Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 file photo, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, waves to supporters during a rally to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the Hamas in Gaza City. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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The group Hamas has drafted a new political program it hopes will improve ties with neighboring Egypt and the West, and present a more moderate image that will help it get off Western terrorism lists.The document plays down ties to Hamas' parent movement, the regional Muslim Brotherhood, which is being targeted by Egypt's government as a terror organization. In referring to a Palestinian state, Hamas does not spell out whether it considers this an acceptable solution to the conflict with Israel or a stepping stone to its long-standing goal of an Islamic state in all of historic Palestine, including what is now Israel.In Gaza, the base of Hamas' political power, strongman Yehya Sinwar, a former long-term prisoner in Israel who is close to the Hamas military wing, was chosen for the top spot.Hamas has controlled Gaza since seizing the territory of 2 million people in 2007 from forces loyal to Abbas.Instead of recognition, Israel would get a long-term truce from Hamas, according to Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in a 2004 airstrike.Hamas hopes its new manifesto will reassure Egypt that it is no longer a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, though it has stopped short of formally cutting ties. Instead, the document portrays Hamas as a "Palestinian movement with an Islamic background," according to a Hamas official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the as yet unreleased document.
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