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Police and Security Forces (Palestine)

Last modified: 2024-05-11 by ian macdonald
Keywords: police | triangle: hoist (red) | eagle of saladin | unidentified flag | palestine | text: arabic (black) |
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[Police (Palestine)] 1:2 image by Eugene Ipavec, M. Schmöger and Santiago Dotor, 24 June 2007
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Omar Amastan Mouffok from Algeria wrote to me describing the flag used by the Palestinian police, which he has seen several times on TV, as being the Palestinian flag with the arms on the red triangle. I sent him the above draft and asked him to report any differences. He believes that the red triangle should be shorter (i.e. like in the standard Palestinian flag) and that the arms do not show the crossed sabres under the eagle.
Santiago Dotor, 26 December 2001

It's interesting that it would seem that the police, chairman, and state flags are basicaly the same with only the symbol moved around the field to differientiate them.
Marc Pasquin, 15 November 2004

Civil Police Flag

[Civil Police] image located by William Garrison, 26 December 2023

The pale-blue (or white?) field of the flag of the "Palestinian Civil Police Force" al-Shurtah al-Madaniyah al-Filistiniyah) which is the Civil Police organization tasked with traditional law-enforcement duties in the autonomous territory governed by the "Palestinian National Authority" (PNA/PA). The "Civil Police" is a part of the "Palestinian Security Services" ; as seen in Fatah-controlled Ramallah, c. Dec. 2023.
William Garrison, 26 December 2023


[Civil Police] image located by William Garrison, 26 December 2023


An earlier flag?

On 3 July 2003, the Público newspaper featured a medium-sized article about the control, by the Palestinian security forces of the city of Bethlehem. It was illustrated by a photo of a group of security officers parading behind a Palestinian flag with something written in the white stripe [scan], as in other images seen previously. But, unlike the flags in those images, this one features the writing in two rows.
Someone with knowledge of Arabic may be able to read it and produce a proper ID of this flag, althout I suspect it to be the flag of the security forces or, at least, of some brigade.
Jorge Candeias, 01 June 2005

The inscription is mirrored and not so easy to read. It seems that the bottom line say "al-quwat al-merkaziya" (The Central Force") and the last word in the upper stripe is "Madaniya" (Civil).
If I am correct is could be the flag of the "al-Shurta al-Madaniyya (Civil Police) - al-quwat al-merkaziya" even though the upper line seems longer.
Dov Gutterman, 01 June 2005

Unidentified Palestinian Flag (possibly Police Flag)

BBC World showed yesterday some sort of parade by Palestinian policemen carrying Palestinian flags plus other flags which were greyish (not white, as compared with the white stripe in the nearby Palestinian flags), with a large displayed eagle (or hawk) in black, with two cartouches above and below of the same kind as in the Syrian coat-of-arms (see the 1972-1980 flag), the whole surrounded by a black circle. Any idea what this flag is? Maybe a Colour of the Palestinian Police?
Santiago Dotor, 22 March 2000

Unidentified Possible Police or Security-Forces' Flag

[Unidentified Possible Police or Security Flag (Palestine)] image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 June 2007

Detail of a Yahoo photo, captioned:

"Palestinian Hamas militant places a Hamas force flag on top of headquarters of security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas after they seized it in Gaza June 13, 2007."

At first this struck me as a likely error; the flag is white with the pan-Arab, Nasserist Eagle of Saladin in a black disc – clearly a symbol more appropriate to the nationalist PLO rather than the clericalist Hamas. However today on the news I saw a captain of the Hamas militants being interviewed, and he was wearing a yellow vest with the same badge.
Perhaps the photo was mislabeled, and the vest had been looted. Or maybe Hamas uses the Eagle of Saladin now too – but either way, this is an UFE. The upper line of writing might be legible; the text in the image is a placeholder.
Eugene Ipavec, 24 June 2007

I think that it is a police or other security force flag and the photo shows it being removed and not hoisted since those units are Hamas' bitter enemies.
Dov Gutterman, 24 June 2007

A picture was taken by Reutrers photo journalist Mohammed Salem. The image (source) was reproduced in the following websites: Image #2 and Image #3 (source). The larger picture shows that the bottom stripe bearing the Arabic inscription is not separate from the black disc as shown above but rather attached, in yellow outline. It was labeled back then (as the picture caption reads) as follows: "A Palestinian Hamas militant places a Hamas force flag on top of headquarters of security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas after they seized it in Gaza June 13, 2007."
     I'm more likely to believe the flag was mistakenly labeled as a Hamas flag due to the occupation forces of Hamas of Fatah outposts back in the 2007 Gaza invasion as part of the Fatah-Hamas conflict. However, this flag could be that of the "Executive Force", a parallel security force made up of al-Qassam Brigades members, after Fatah, refusing to accept the plan of the Hamas-led PA government to reform the security sector after the Palestinian legislative election of 2006, established its own security force, the Presidential Guard, although the main Fatah force that fought in this conflict was the Palestinian National Security Forces.
     The picture in question was most likely taken after "[Hamas] Fighters seized Fatah's Preventative Security building in Gaza City and the intelligence service headquarters" (source) - notice that Preventive Security was labelled as a Fatah-controlled Unit during the Fatah-Hamas conflict but it is an agency of the Palestinian Authority, as a whole.
     As for Palestinian Security Forces, they were outlined by the Oslo Agreement signed in 1993, and were officially established in May 1994 "with the signing of the Gaza–Jericho Agreement, "a chapter in the Oslo Accords process" (source). Also the Oslo II Accords contains Article II of Annex I which stipulates: "The Palestinian Police is the only Palestinian security authority." The Annex allows a security force limited to six branches:

  1. Civil Police, or Palestinian (Civil) Police Force (al-Shurtah al-Madaniyah al-Filistiniyah) tasked with traditional law enforcement duties. It was established in May 1994 "with the signing of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, a chapter in the Oslo Accords process" (source). Its flag is the emblem over a horizontal sky blue flag as seen here (picture on the left, second flag from left to right) (source). Its official website is found (here) and on its official Facebook website.
  2. Public Security
  3. Preventive Security, or Palestinian Preventive Security (PPS), (Al-'amn al-wiqa'i), also known as Preventive Security Force (PSF), Preventive Security Service or Preventative Security Service (PSS) is an internal intelligence organization.
  4. Presidential Security, preceded the Palestinian Presidential Guard (PPG), which was made a separate force in 2006. (logo) (source)
  5. Intelligence
  6. Emergency Services and Rescue, or Civil Defence, which evolved into the General Directorate of Civil Defense (logo
  7. ) (source #1) (source #2) and the (source #3) and source.
     At some point (in 1995) there were "15 overlapping competing security Branches (more like independent forces actually), each one controlled by a rival political or former guerrilla chieftain, but all of them ultimately loyal to Fatah" (source). These 15 agencies were:
  1. National security (al-Aman al-Watani), or Palestinian National Security Forces (NSF), the paramilitary security forces (since Palestine officially has no Army. (logo)
  2. Navy (al-Bahariya)
  3. Information Bureau (al-Astakhabarat)
  4. Military Police (al-Shurta al-'Askariyit)
  5. Intelligence (al-Mukhabarat)
  6. Civil Defence (al-Dufaa'a al-Madeni)
  7. Civil Police (al-Shurta al-Madeniya)
  8. Criminal Security (al-Aman al-Junaa'i)
  9. Drugs (al-Sha'bat Mkafahat al-Makhdarat)
  10. Riot Police (Makafa't al-Shaghab)
  11. Traffic Police (al-Shurta al-Marour)
  12. Preventive Security (al-Aman al-Waqa'i)
  13. Military Discipline (al-Anthabama al-'Askari)
  14. Force 17 (Kuwat Sabatash) was established in the 1970's in an attempt to professionalize Fatah's intelligence services and was also responsible for Fatah's commander personal security. In 1994, the unit was largely absorbed into the "Presidential Security". In 2006, the Unit was separated, to become the "Palestinian Presidential Guard (PPG)" as part of the Palestinian Security Services (PSS) and was finally merged into the Palestinian Presidential Guard (PPG) National Security Forces (NSF) in December 2007. (source)
  15. Presidential Security (al-Aman al-Ra'isi). Other sources mention two other forces but there's insufficient information to make a conclusion that these two were different from the list above, and are maybe derived translations of them: Ministry of Interior (or simply Interior Security Forces) and General Intelligence).
     In 2002, the Ministry of Interior was established and handed over the responsibility for public order and internal security. It included authority over the security organizations Preventive Security, Civil Police and Civil Defence.
     In 2003, these organizations were merged into the Palestinian Security Services (PSS) (source) which are the official armed forces and intelligence and security agencies of the State of Palestine (source).

Image from Esteban Rivera, 18 April 2016
PPS logo cropped image from Ramallah News.

     In 2004, the long time Chief Police was kidnapped, motivated by corruption charges which led to several reforms (source). Up until then, there were eight agencies, which were narrowed down three, reformed on July 17, 2004 by Decree. The Palestinian Security Services (PSS) would be divided three branches: National Security Forces (NSF), Internal Security Forces (ISF) and General Intelligence (GI). Then on 2005 After the new President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was elected on January 2005, the new President announced on April 14, 2005, that the previously existing 12 security divisions were to be merged into three general forces, in accordance with the 2004 decree of his predecessor. On 4 June 2005 the "Law of Service in the Palestinian Security Forces No. 8 of 2005" was promulgated. The Palestinian Security Services (PSS) were divided into:
  • National Security: under the leadership of the Minister of National Security and under the command of the Commander-in-Chief, with the following Branches: Palestinian National Security Forces (NSF), which is a paramilitary force. Coast Guard Air Guard or Aerial Police
  • Interior (Internal Security Forces) under the leadership of the Minister of the Interior (official website) and under the command of the Director-General of Internal Security Palestinian (Civil) Police Force, General Directorate of Civil Defense County Guard, or Governorate Security Palestinian Preventive Security (PPS) (logo), and Palestinian Presidential Guard (PPG).
  • Intelligence affiliated with the President (official website), under the leadership of the Head of the service (logo).
  • General Intelligence (Mukhabarat)
  • Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat)
  • Military Police Intelligence
Sources on Palestinian Security Forces: MIFTAH and Wikipedia: Palestinian_Security_Services.
Esteban Rivera, 18 April 2016

Palestinian Authority Al-Shurta (Police)

image located by William Garrison, 17 October 2023

The white-field flag of the "Palestinian National Authority" (PA) "Al-Shurta" ("The Police"), as noted in Arabic at the bottom of their light-blue logo: "Al-Shurta"; c. 2005. The top Arabic slogan reads roughly: "The Country is Safe." There is a flag-pole sleeve at the left side (hoist).
William Garrison, 17 October 2023

Preventive Security agency

image located by William Garrison, 17 October 2023


image located by William Garrison, 17 October 2023
Logo source:

The white-field flag of the "Preventive Security" agency of the "Palestinian National Authority" (PA); c. 2005. The "Preventive Security" (PS) is an internal intelligence agency that was established to counter opposition to the PLO's peace agreements with Israel, especially Hamas. The PS operates under the PA's "Ministry of Interior", but also appears to report directly to the PA president. It has grown to become one of the most powerful security forces. There is a flag-pole sleeve at the right side (hoist). PS info see:
William Garrison, 17 October 2023

Police / Security-Forces' Flag Sash

[Police / Security-Forces' Flag Sash (Palestine)]
image by Eugene Ipavec and Francisco Gregoric, 10 November 2007

A November 10, 2007 BBC News article contains a photo of a Palestinian-flag sash, worn diagonally by two officers during the ceremonial unveiling of Yasser Arafat's mausoleum in Ramallah.
Esteban Rivera and Eugene Ipavec, 10 November 2007

Palestinian Authority Aircraft Marking

Palestine doesn't have an Air Force – the Palestinian National Authority received, as a loan, two Mil Mi-8's from Egypt for use as VIP transports. Both used Egyptian civil registration, with the Palestinian flag on the fuselage. Those helicopters are now back in Egypt and not in use for this purpose anymore.
Dov Gutterman, 21 June 2004