Hamas was founded in December 1987 in Gaza as a branch of the region-wide Muslim Brotherhood.
It also drops 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.
Outgoing Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal said he puts all of his trust in the new Movement leadership and that he will stand behind the "new leader Ismail Haniyeh".
Hamas, which governs in the Gaza Strip, violently wrested power there in 2007 from the second-largest Palestinian movement, President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, which now controls only the West Bank. "He was one of the leaders who believed that participating in the political system would make the worldwide community open their arms, strengthen the Palestinians, and force Israel to deal with Hamas".
It stresses however that its struggle is not against Jews due to their religion but against Israel as an occupier. It also included anti-Jewish references.
"Meshaal had already set in motion a new phase", he told AFP.
The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah purportedly blasted Hamas's recently issued policy document, which appears to accept a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders.
Haniya was born in Gaza's Shatti refugee camp in 1963.
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He first rose to prominence as bureau chief under Hamas's spiritual father Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the quadriplegic assassinated by Israel in 2004.
The following year, he led Hamas to a shock legislative election victory over Abbas's Fatah and became prime minister.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman has dismissed the revision, accusing Hamas of "attempting to fool the world".
For the past four years he has served as Mashaal's deputy.
For his first appearance as Hamas leader, Haniyeh chose a symbol of elusive Palestinian unity a solidarity tent where several political factions are represented, including Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement. 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. The new Hamas document says that Israel has no right to exist.
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.
"But I think Hamas has made a gesture and Ismail Haniya is an open person, he is willing to talk and meet".
Over the years, Hamas had a leadership-in-exile that raised funds or courted political support from countries like Iran and Syria, while the Hamas military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam, attacked Israeli targets from Gaza and the West Bank.