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The Palestinian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (Arabic: الفرع القطري الفلسطيني في الحزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي al-fara‘ al-quṭrī l-falasṭīnī fīl-ḥizb al-ba‘ath al-‘arabī l-ishtirākī) has been the ruling political party of the Republic of Palestine since 1979. It is a branch of the Syrian-led Ba'athist movement headquartered in Damascus, whose local branch has ruled Syria since 1963. The current Regional Secretary of the Regional Command is Roman Kindi, who succeeded Yasser Arafat as President of Palestine in November 2004.

Founded in February 1949 by Ahmad Zuayyin and a handful of close associates, the Palestinian Regional Branch sided with Syria during the 1966 Syrian-Iraqi schism in the Ba'ath Party, with the Palestinian Regional Command becoming officially subordinate to the National Command in Damascus, led by Syrian President Hafez al-Assad from 1970. After the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestine following Arab defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War, the Military Committee (renamed the Military Bureau after 1977) of the Palestinian Regional Branch, led by Lieutenant General Rifaf Khan and Colonel Yasser Arafat, spearheaded the partisan resistance movement via the Palestinian National Salvation Front (PNSF), culminating in the 1976–1979 Sinai War which ended the occupation. The party has ruled Palestine ever since.

Structure[]

Regional Congress[]

The Regional Congress is the highest decision-making body within the party. It is held annually to review and implement policy, as well as to elect the membership of the Regional Command. The Regional Congress consists of all the members of the contemporary Regional Command, as well as the secretaries and associated delegates from all the branch's chapters throughout the country. Delegates from each individual chapter are nominated by their fellow chapter comrades, and officially appointed by the Chapter Secretary. The Regional Congress has a significant amount of legislative influence in the Palestinian government, as the Ba'ath Party holds a majority of seats in both houses of the Palestine Arab Congress.

Regional Command[]

Regional Command headquarters in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem

The Regional Command is the highest executive authority in the party between the annual sessions of the Regional Congress. Its membership is elected by the Regional Congress, and its actions subject to review at subsequent congresses. The Regional Command is led by a Regional Secretary, who is traditionally the party's nominee in presidential elections. The Regional Command is officially subordinate to the National Command led by the President of Syria, who is the General Secretary of the Ba'ath Party and Regional Secretary of the Syrian Regional Branch. The Regional Command sends delegates every four years to the National Congress in Damascus, which is the equivalent of the Regional Congress for the Ba'ath Party as a whole; all Regional Congresses of the various Regional Branches are subordinate to the National Congress.

The Regional Secretary is elected by and leads the Secretariat of the Regional Command, which is its top executive body. The top policymaking body is the Central Committee, which elects the membership of the Secretariat, and is itself elected by the entire membership of the Regional Command.

All chapters of the Palestinian Regional Branch are subordinate to one of two bureaus, which are in turn responsible to the Regional Command, answering directly to the Secretariat:

Political Bureau[]

Formerly known as the Political Committee, this bureau oversees the public party apparatus, which includes all civilian chapters of the Regional Command throughout the many counties and municipalities of Palestine, as well as the Capital District and within colleges and universities as student chapters, right up to the top civilian leadership. The name of the bureau comes from its policymaking authority in the state's internal affairs hierarchy, which is routinely empowered by the Regional Command. The Public Security Bureau has the larger jurisdiction of the two bureaus, as most of the party chapters are civilian chapters and thus subordinated to its chain of command.

Military Bureau[]

The Military Bureau, formerly known as the Military Committee, is the executive committee which oversees all party chapters within the Palestinian Armed Forces, including the Gendarmerie (the national police). It also commands the multiple community militias and partisan brigades that make up the Palestinian National Guard, which are directly subordinated to the Military Bureau and therefore party control. These chapters exist as a parallel structure alongside the civilian party hierarchy; because all chapters of the armed forces are subordinated to the Military Bureau, the military and civilian sectors of the Palestinian Regional Branch only meet at the regional level, as delegates of the annual Regional Congress. The multiple chapters subordinated to the Military Bureau are structured according to the organisation of the various branches of the armed forces; for example, the military equivalent of a municipal party chapter is the brigade-level chapter.

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