General Intelligence Service (GIS) – PA

The Palestinian General Intelligence Service (GIS) falls under the direct command of the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The service was established in 1994 through the Oslo Accords with the assistance of Tawfiq Tirawi. It is currently led by Major General Majed Faraj who was appointed to the position in September 2009. In March 2023, President Mahmoud Abbas extended Faraj’s term indefinitely.

Under the Palestinian Basic Law, the GIS director can only serve a 4-year mandate — possibly prolonged for an additional 6 months by the Palestinian Legislative Council. According to a new presidential decree issued by Abbas, the PA president now has sole authority to appoint and terminate the position of GIS director. His decree also elevated the position of GIS director to ‘ministerial level’. The move was seen as an effort to consolidate Faraj’s standing in the lead-up to any future post-Abbas leadership change in the PA.

With around 3,000 personnel, mostly from Fatah, the GIS is very powerful and has been used to target political opponents and dissenting activists. Its structure and organisation replicate those of the PLO’s intelligence forces before the creation of the PA. It collects intelligence, counters espionage, cooperates with foreign intelligence services, and commands a paramilitary force. Its members wear plain clothes and carry out both covert and public operations. The head of the service holds the rank of PA minister. GIS members, including Tirawi, have been linked to attacks against Israeli targets during the Second Intifada.

GIS was previously headed by several Brigadier Generals: Amin al-Hindi (July 1994-July 2004); Tareq Abu Rajab (July 2004-August 2007); Tawfiq Tirawi (August 2007-November 2008); and Muhammad Mansour (November 2008-September 2009).