Prime Minister of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyya, stated that Hamas rejects the modified Arab peace initiative and added “Palestine is not a property, not for sale or trade”.Haniyya made his statements as he welcomed European, Tunisian and Egyptian relief convoys in Gaza. He said that the stance of the Arab Committee and its modified version of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 “encourages Israel to continue its illegal settlement activities in Palestine”.

He added that the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and the leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) were the first to allow such concessions in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

The Hamas leader said that there should not be any concessions on any part of Palestine and Jerusalem, and added that what Israel is doing is illegitimate, and called on the Islamic nations to protect Palestine and Jerusalem.

He further stated that “armed resistance is a strategic choice for liberating Palestine”, and added that “what has been taken by force, can only be retrieved by force, not through negotiations with the occupation, and not through concessions”.

Haniyya also stated that the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel is a sacred right that should not be altered or modified.

The Arab League modified it Peace Initiative of 2002, allowing the principle of land swap between Israel and the Palestinians under a comprehensive peace agreement sponsored by the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, welcomed the modified initiative, and stated that this is an essential step that would help boost the efforts to resume the stalled direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.