GOP senator threatens to cut off US aid to Palestinians over ICC

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDems revive impeachment talk after latest Cohen bombshell Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Dem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report MORE (R-S.C.) warned Monday that the Palestinian Authority could lose U.S. aid if it files a lawsuit against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"We will push back strongly to register our displeasure. It is already part of our law that would require us to stop funding if they actually bring a case," Graham said at a press conference in Jerusalem, according to Reuters.

Existing U.S. law, he noted, “would cut off aid to the Palestinians if they file a complaint” against Israel.


Graham was part of a delegation of seven senators visiting Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar over the holiday weekend.

The GOP senator is not the first to threaten cutting off U.S. funding to the Palestinians. Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber GOP rep: 'Rand Paul is giving the president bad advice' on Afghanistan and Syria MORE (R-Ky.), a likely 2016 presidential contender, introduced a bill that would cut off aid until the Palestinian Authority withdraws its request to join the ICC.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, however, said the Palestinians will officially join the ICC on April 1.

An ICC prosecutor already initiated a preliminary investigation last week into whether Israel committed war crimes during the war against Hamas in Gaza last summer, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The spending package Congress passed in December stated that if Palestinians initiate any action against Israel at the ICC, the State Department would have to restrict U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported earlier this month said Israeli officials would be contacting pro-Israel lawmakers in Congress to ensure the U.S. government complies with the law.

Israel has already frozen about $120 million for a monthly transfer in tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. provides about $400 million annually to the Palestinians.