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The Ministry of Defence (Arabic: وزارة الدفاع wuzārat ad-difā‘) is an executive department of the Palestinian government in charge of the Palestinian Armed Forces and national defence policy. It answers to the Prime Minister of Palestine and is headed by Minister of Defence Rajeh Asaad.

Unlike most other ministries of Palestine, for national security reasons the Ministry of Defence is headquartered 10 km north of the capital in Ramallah; the mandate-era compound which hosts the main operations rooms and offices is known as the Mukataa, which is commonly used as a metonym in Arabic to refer to the ministry and/or the armed forces as a whole.


The Ministry of Defence acts as a civilian administration for the armed forces, responsible for supporting military operations and coordinating government resources with the four service branches. The authority of the secretariat is divided between the General Staff and seven civilian directorates:

  • Office of the General Staff: The top military command which oversees the armed forces as a whole, consisting of the joint chiefs of staff of the four service branches, as well as each director of the ministry's seven civilian directorates.


  • Military Intelligence Directorate: The main military intelligence agency, with intelligence officers working alongside the Army as well as the Gendarmerie.
  • Naval Intelligence Directorate: Responsible for providing comprehensive intelligence reports to naval command, including assessing other navies' capabilities and coordinating reconnaissance operations.
  • Air Force Intelligence Directorate: The military intelligence department of the Air Force, and the premier intelligence agency in the Ministry of Defence.
  • National Strategic Aerospace Defence Directorate: Responsible for operating and maintaining the nation's complex air defence infrastructure, including anti-aircraft batteries, missile interception systems, civil defence sirens and related equipment, closely coordinating operations with the armed forces.
  • Military Medical Directorate: Responsible for training, supplying and overseeing medical personnel and their operations in all four branches of the armed forces. Directorate has close operational relationship with State Secretariat of Health, the national public healthcare service, which runs the directorate's professional oversight committee and trains and licences doctors and other medical personnel.
  • Army Logistical Support Directorate: Responsible for coordinating all materiel and related needs of the Army from the civilian realm, supplying logistics regiments to maintain a solid rear.
  • Naval and Air Supply Directorate: Responsible for the materiel needs of the Navy and Air Force.

Other departments[]

  • Defence Human Resources Department: Responsible for organising recruiting campaigns in the four services of the armed forces as well as the Ministry of Defence civilian administration, and compensates personnel and supports their needs and issues from enlistment to discharge.
  • Defence Finance Department: Responsible for overseeing the military budget of Palestine.
  • Defence Research & Development Department: Commissions research and development projects relevant to national defence.
  • Defence Housing Department: Commissions and maintains all on- and off-base residencies for military personnel, and also supplies civilian support staff to military bases.
  • Defence Liaison Office: Responsible for coordinating Ministry of Defence policy with other government ministries and agencies where relevant.
  • Defence Legal Department: The legal team responsible for advising and representing the Ministry of Defence and Palestinian Armed Forces.

Civilian ranks[]

Below is the ranking system used by Military, Naval, and Air Force Intelligence. The insignias used are not publicly known. For military ranks of the Palestinian Armed Forces, see branch-specific article.

Rank Arabic
Director مدير
Superintendent مساعد
Field officer ضابط الميداني
ḍābiṭ al-mīdānī
Case officer ضابط الحالة
ḍābiṭ al-ḥālah
Operations officer ضابط العمليات
ḍābiṭ al-‘amaliyāt
Agent عميل
Analyst محلل

The other civilian directorates do not use this ranking system: Army Logistical Support, Naval and Air Supply, and Aerospace Defence mostly follow a corporate hierarchy, while the Military Medicine Directorate, being composed almost entirely of medical professionals, uses the same hierarchical structure as the public healthcare system; however, all staff are still subordinated to two or three superintendents under a single director.