The term Palestinian territories (or Occupied Palestinian territories) refers to lands sought by Palestinians as a new nation-state.
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2 Historical status of West Bank and Gaza Strip
3 Legal Status of the territories
Various meanings of the term
Not all users of the term intend to convey the same meaning, which can lead to confusion.
Historical status of West Bank and Gaza Strip
Neither the West Bank nor the Gaza Strip have natural geographic borders; their boundaries were defined as cease-fire lines of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Following the war, West Bank was captured by Jordan, and Gaza Strip was captured by Egypt. The conquest of these territories was not recognized internationally, except by United Kingdom and Pakistan.
Israel has captured these territories in the 1967 Six-Day War; since then tey have been under Israeli control. The UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed after the war has introduced the "Land for Peace" formula for Israel's normalization with its neighbors.
Since the early 1990s, the Palestine Liberation Organization has negotiated with Israel the creation of a Palestinian autonomous administration, and in the perspective - the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on these territories.
The Oslo Accords led to creation of the Palestinian Authority - which includes a Palestinian civil administration in the smaller towns and security presence in the bigger cities on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Authority lacks full sovereignty, but it does possess an army-like police force (however see below for the current status).
Legal Status of the territories
Arab nationalists seeking to create a new Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip generally argue that the presence of Israeli settlements or military forces in them is a violation of international law.
Israel, on the other hand, claims that these territories are not currently claimed by any other state and Israel has the right to control them, at least temporarily. In other words, Israel's stance is that while Palestinians do have the right for self-determination (as confirmed by the Oslo Accords), it does not mean they should automatically receive these territories or other.
Israel's position, at least in the declarative plane, has not been accepted by most countries and international bodies. The West Bank, and the Gaza Strip have been declared "occupied territories" (with Israel as the occupying power) Palestinian Arabs  and the rest of the Arab bloc, the UK , the EU, (usually) the USA (, ), and the [[United Nations].
The international community did not declare any change in their perceived status of the territories as a of the creation of the Palestinian Authority between 1993 and 2000. Although an 1999 U.N. document (see the link above) implied that the chances for a change in that status was slim at the period, most observers agreed that the Palestinian territories' classification as occupied was losing substantiality, and would be withdrawn after the signing of a permanent peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians (see also Proposals for a Palestinian state).
Following the events of the Second Intifada, most of those areas are now once again under effective Israeli military control, so the discussion along those lines is largely moot as of now (autumn 2002).
East Jerusalem, captured in 1967, was unilaterally annexed by Israel. This annexation has not been recognized by the international community, although U.S. lawmakers have declared their intention to recognize the annexation.
See also: Occupied territories.