RAMALLAH, West Bank — Turning up the pressure on Israel, the Palestinians announced Wednesday that they are joining the International Criminal Court to pursue war-crimes charges against the Jewish state – a risky, high-stakes move that brought threats of retaliation from Israel and criticism from the U.S.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas acted a day after suffering a defeat in the U.N. Security Council, which voted down a resolution setting a three-year deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel.

“We want to complain. There’s aggression against us, against our land. The Security Council disappointed us,” Abbas said.

Turning to the international court at The Hague marks a major policy shift, transforming Abbas’ relations with Israel from tense to openly hostile.

The ultimate goal is to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the territories and agreeing to Palestinian statehood.

The strategy carries risks, including the possibility the Palestinians themselves could be accused of war crimes over rocket attacks by the extremist group Hamas on Israeli population centers and other violence against Jewish targets.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to take unspecified “retaliatory steps.”