On 13th of November 1974, Yasser Arafat addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York for the first time. He became the first leader to represent a national liberation movement and not a state. In his speech, he directly addressed the question of the terrorist image of the PLO.
“Those who call us terrorists wish to prevent world public opinion from discovering the truth about us and from seeing the justice on our faces. They seek to hide the terrorism and tyranny of their acts, and our own posture of self-defence…
…the difference between the revolutionary and the terrorist lies in the reason for which each fights. For whoever stands by a just cause and fights for the freedom and liberation of his land from the invaders, the settlers and the colonialists, cannot possibly be called terrorist. Otherwise, the Americans in their struggle for liberation from the British colonialists would have been terrorists; the European resistance against the Nazis would have been terrorism, the struggle of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples would have also been terrorism, and many of you who are in this Assembly hall would be considered terrorists …”
“Need one remind this Assembly of the numerous resolutions adopted by it condemning Israeli aggressions committed against Arab countries, Israeli violations of human rights and articles of the Geneva Conventions, as well as the resolutions pertaining to the annexation of the city of Jerusalem and its restoration to its former status?”
In the following days, the General Assembly adopted resolution 3236 that reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and resolution 3237 that invited the Palestine Liberation Organization to participate in its deliberations as observer.