RAMALLAH (AFP) - President Mahmud Abbas has promised Palestinians he will seek UN membership before the Security Council next week, amid mounting opposition from Israel and the United States. With Washington calling the move counterproductive, Abbas told Palestinians in a televised address on Friday: It is our legitimate right to demand the full membership of the state of Palestine in the UN. On Saturday, Europe joined the diplomatic tussle, calling for a constructive solution on Palestinian statehood and a resumption of negotiations with Israel. We continue to believe that a constructive solution that ... allows for the resumption of negotiations is the best and only way to deliver the peace and two-state solution the Palestinian people want, said Jaja Cocijanic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. But Nabil Shaath, a member of the Palestinian delegation to the UN, dismissed the EU stance, saying: I do not think there was a chance for the Quartet (US, Russia, European Union, United Nations) to change position at a Sunday meeting. in New York. He told a news conference on Saturday: There were discussions led by the Americans to persuade Tony Blair, the Quartets special Middle East envoy, to publish a statement calling for the resumption of negotiations. This encouraged the Palestinians to go to the Security Council, he said. Russia has said it will vote in favour of the Palestinian move, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday to discuss certain issues of the Middle East situation, including the Palestinian bid, the foreign ministry said in Moscow. In Israe, Yossi Peled, a Likud party minister without portfolio in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told public radio on Saturday that Israel could not prevent the Palestinian UN recourse. Unfortunately, Israel does not have the means to prevent the Palestinians from demanding adhesion of their state to the UN, and it is impossible to stop them, he said. But the initiative will no doubt not get through the Security Council, and will leave us room to negotiate, he said, adding the view that only direct talks would result in the solution of two states for two peoples. Asked about a possible deterioration of security in the wake of the Palestinian initiative, Peled said that Israel is an islet of democracy in an Islamist ocean and must show wisdom in opening eyes and ears. Israels main Middle East ally Washington has already threatened to veto the Palestinian bid in the Security Council. Abbas made his pledge after Israel boosted its military presence in the West Bank ahead of expected Palestinian demonstrations as the UN statehood bid looms on September 23. Explaining US opposition, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said: We believe that any gesture, any movement in New York to that end would be counterproductive to what the real focus should be on, which is direct negotiations between the parties. Direct Palestinian peace talks with Israel foundered nearly a year ago in a dispute over Israels continued construction of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Abbas said he would seek UN membership to put an end to a historical injustice by attaining liberty and independence, like the other peoples of the earth, in a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967. He was referring to the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War, including Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel says they are indefensible and that the borders of a future Palestinian state must be defined in bilateral negotiations. Washington says the basis for an agreement should be the 1967 borders but with mutually agreed amendments. Hamas, the Islamist group ruling the Gaza Strip, hit out at Abbass strategy, to which it is not a party. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said it could weaken the campaign to allow Palestinian refugees back to their former homes and delegitimise armed opposition to Israeli occupation. Zacharia al-Agha, a member of Abbass Fatah movement in Gaza, called in a statement on Saturday for a peaceful march on September 21, ahead of the Palestinian UN membership bid. Abu Zuhri dismissed the call saying Hamas had not been consulted about it. And several hundred Palestinian and Israeli women demonstrated on each side of the Qalandiya Israeli checkpoint, the main passage between Jerusalem and Ramallah on the West Bank. After two decades of failed negotiations, it is time that the international community, including Israel reconise Palestine as an independent state alongside Israel, one group said in a statement.