But some of his other remarks are perhaps more notable.
From the official transcript:
I affirm in front of you that the Palestinian people hold steadfast to their legitimate right to defend themselves against the Israeli war machine and to their legitimate right to resist this colonial, racist Israeli occupation.The first statement is a legitimization of terrorist rockets aimed at Israeli civilians - which is a war crime and terrorism by any definition. There is no other possible interpretation, given that he was using the Gaza war as the linchpin for the entire speech.
At the same time, I affirm that our grief, trauma and anger will not for one moment make us abandon our humanity, our values and our ethics; we will always maintain our respect and commitment to international law, international humanitarian law and the international consensus, and we will maintain the traditions of our national struggle established by the Palestinian fedayeen and to which we committed ourselves since the onset of the Palestinian revolution in early 1965.
Both that statement and the following one show that Abbas is abandoning the original Oslo exchange of letters where Yasir Arafat claimed to renounce the use of terror and violence. Abbas is saying that he supports the methods of the "fedayeen" terrorists that first attacked Israel in 1965 - an attack against the Israeli water infrastructure - and those same Fatah terrorists went on to be behind airplane hijackings, mass murders and the Olympics massacre, among many others.
Abbas is praising these terrorists at the same time that he is using phrases like "international law, international humanitarian law and the international consensus."
Abbas did not say anything like this in his previous three annual speeches (2011, 2012, 2013) to the UN General Assembly. In each of those, he emphasized "peaceful, popular resistance" or similar terminology - here, he does not mention that term once, and instead lionizes terrorists and justifies terror.
To his mind, it is easy to reconcile Palestinian terrorism with international law, because Fatah has always claimed that "resistance" is legal under international law as their platform says explicitly:
Our struggle is also based on the provisions of international law that affirmed the right of people to resist occupation, and on their right to struggle for their freedom, independence and self-determination.Other Fatah leaders have said as well that armed terrorism was never abandoned by Fatah.
Abbas just announced to the entire world that Palestinian terrorism is perfectly legal. But no Western diplomats will say anything about it.