Germany is urging Israel to reverse the seizure of land in the West Bank.

A spokeswoman for Germany's Foreign Ministry says Berlin fears the expropriated land will be used to expand Israeli settlements and make it harder to forge a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Sawsan Chebli said Wednesday that "the German government regrets this decision and hopes that it will be reversed."

COGAT, the Israeli military body that oversees Palestinian civilian affairs, confirmed Wednesday that about 580 acres (235 hectares) near the West Bank city of Jericho were declared government land.

Chebli said the Israeli decision "sends a wrong signal at the wrong time."

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in those territories.