RAMALLAH, West Bank – The Palestinian president said Friday he would ask the U.N. Security Council next week to endorse his people’s decades-long quest for statehood but emphasized that he did not seek to isolate or delegitimize Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to seek full membership at United Nations and bypass negotiations with Israel sets the stage for a diplomatic confrontation with Israel and the United States, which has indicated it would veto the measure in the Security Council.

Abbas appeared to leave himself some wiggle room in his address to the Palestinian people before departing for the annual U.N. General Assembly session in New York next week, saying he did not rule out other, unspecified options. Those could include seeking a lesser, “nonmember state” observer status from the General Assembly, a more easily obtainable goal.

He also acknowledged that his U.N. move would not end the Israeli occupation and cautioned against outsize hopes.

“We don’t want to raise expectations by saying we are going to come back with full independence,” Abbas said in an address to Palestinian leaders. He said he was going to the United Nations to “ask the world to shoulder its responsibilities” by backing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

Abbas urged the Palestinian people to refrain from violence, saying “anything other than peaceful moves will harm us and sabotage our endeavors.”

And he asserted twice that his aim was not to isolate or delegitimize Israel — a charge Israel often levels at the Palestinians and their supporters.

“No one can isolate Israel. No one can delegitimize Israel. It is a recognized state,” he said. “We want to delegitimize the occupation, not the state of Israel. The occupation is the nightmare of our existence.”

Both the U.S. and Israel fear the U.N. move could lead to violence and other negative consequences and stress that statehood should come about through negotiations, the cornerstone of Mideast peace efforts for the past two decades.

The Palestinians already are planning two mass demonstrations in the West Bank next week, though they insist the marches will be peaceful.

The Palestinians say they are turning to the U.N. after concluding that peace talks will yield no breakthrough at this point. The U.N. move will not change things on the ground, but they hope it will give them greater leverage in future negotiations with Israel by elevating their international profile.

With a U.S. veto assured in the Security Council, the Palestinians would likely seek “nonmember state” status from the General Assembly, where the Palestinians would only need a simple majority of those present and voting. Abbas said more than 125 of the assembly’s 193 members have pledged to support the Palestinians in their statehood bid.