The International Criminal Court may soon be able to try crimes committed in Palestinian lands.
It comes after the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, signed 20 international agreements, including the Rome Statute.
This paves the way for the court to investigate the conduct of Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Announcing the move to his cabinet, Abbas said: “They attack us and our land every day, to whom are we to complain? The Security Council has let us down; where are we to go?”
Israel was swift to condemn the move.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas’ action would expose the Palestinians to prosecution over support for what he called the Hamas Islamist group.
The United States also expressed its concern, describing the Palestinian actions as unhelpful to peace efforts in the region.
It comes a day after Abbas failed with an independence bid at the UN Security Council.