Story highlights

The move comes one day after the U.N. Security Council rejected a call for statehood

It sets the stage for the Palestinian Authority to possibly pursue war crime complaints

The U.S says it is "deeply troubled" by the development, calling it an "escalatory step"

(CNN) —  

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed a bid on Wednesday to join the International Criminal Court.

The move comes one day after the U.N. Security Council rejected a resolution calling for Palestinian statehood by 2017, and for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It sets the stage for the Palestinian Authority to possibly pursue war crime complaints against Israel.

“This is another step forward. Legally, it gives anyone the opportunity to raise claims to the ICC and for the ICC to do work here. We are opening a door,” said Xavier Abu Eid, spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“It is not, necessarily, that the state of Palestine will raise a claim against Israel, but that basically now, anyone can. If any events take place here, then they can do work here, and likewise anyone – from individuals, NGOs, churches, etc. – can raise claims. It’s important to remember that settlements are on occupied Palestinian lands and are illegal,” he said.

The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply troubled” by the development, calling it an “escalatory step.”

“Today’s action is entirely counterproductive and does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state. It badly damages the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace,” the State Department said.

“While we are under no illusions regarding the difficult road of negotiations, direct negotiations are ultimately the only realistic path for achieving the aspirations of both peoples. All of us would like to see the day when that effort can resume, and can lead to the peace that we all know is the only real, sustainable answer to the underlying causes of this conflict,” the statement read.

CNN’s Irene Nasser and Elise Labott contributed to this report.