Hawkish American senators have threatened the Palestinian leadership with a “strong response” over its decision to join the International Criminal Court.Senators Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, and Mark Kirk issued the warning in a statement on Friday. The statement also called the Palestinian move “deplorable” and “counterproductive. ” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed an application to join the ICC after the United Nations Security Council rejected a Palestinian proposal for statehood on December 30,2014.READ MORE:Palestinians file complaint against Israeli war crimes at ICC "Existing US law makes clear that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA must end," the US senators said. "In light of this legal requirement, Congress will reassess its support for assistance to the PA and seek additional ways to make clear to President Abbas that we strongly oppose his efforts to seek membership in the ICC," they added. Earlier this week, the US State Department issued a similar warning. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Palestinian Authority does not qualify legally for membership to the international court because Palestine is not a sovereign state yet. However, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Palestine would join the International Criminal Court on April 1. In a statement posted on the UN's treaty website on Tuesday, Ban said, "The statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015." Source: presstv.ir