The Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied Syria. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement -- permanent status to be determined through further negotiation.
Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but the United States, like nearly all other countries, maintains its Embassy in Tel Aviv.
The West Bank
The Bank, with a total area of 2,262 square miles (5,860 square kilometers), is the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian territories.
The September 1993 Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements provided for a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Under a series of agreements signed between May 1994 and September 1999, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for many Palestinian-populated areas. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the two areas stalled following the outbreak of an intifada in September 2000.
In April 2003, the Quartet (United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine.
Following Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's death in late 2004, Mahmud Abbas was elected PA president in January 2005. A month later, Israel and the PA agreed to the Sharm el-Sheikh Commitments in an effort to move the peace process forward.
In September 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew all of its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Strip and withdrew settlers and redeployed soldiers from four small northern West Bank settlements. Israel, however, still controls maritime, airspace, and other access to the Strip.
In January 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) won control of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). They took control of the PA government in March 2006, but President Abbas had little success negotiating with them to present a political platform acceptable to the international community so as to lift economic sanctions on Palestinians.
In February 2007, Abbas and Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khalid Mishal signed the Mecca Agreement that resulted in the formation of a Palestinian National Unity Government (NUG) headed by Hamas member Ismail Haniya. However, fighting continued in the Gaza Strip, and in June 2007, Hamas militants succeeded in a violent takeover of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip. Abbas that same month dismissed the NUG and through a series of presidential decrees formed a PA government in the West Bank led by independent Salam Fayyad.
Fatah and Hamas in May 2011, under the auspices of Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation negotiations, agreed to reunify the Palestinian territories. However, both factions have struggled to finalize details on governing and security structures. Fayyad and his PA government continue to implement a series of security and economic reforms to improve conditions.
Abbas, who on behalf of the Palestinians in September 2011 submitted a UN membership application, has said he will not resume negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu until Israel halts all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.