Israel's government confirmed today that it intends to confiscate 130 acres of predominantly Arab land in East Jerusalem, the first substantial land seizure in the city since Israel promised in 1993 to negotiate Jerusalem's future with Palestinian leaders.

The new expropriation notices, accompanied by firm suggestions that the ultimate beneficiaries will be Jews, were the strongest move since the start of Palestinian self-rule talks to cement Israel's hold on all of the disputed holy city. Palestinians reacted with outrage and suggested, more in helplessness than resolve, that the future of the talks was again at risk.

Some local and national Israeli officials sought to backpedal from remarks by Housing Ministry official Rina Zamir, published today in the newspaper Haaretz, that Jewish neighborhoods would be built on the confiscated land. Israel Land Authority spokeswoman Michal Cohen said the land is "for Jews and for Arabs and for other purposes. . . . We don't know exactly what we're going to do with it."

But Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, in a telephone interview, said it was reasonable to suppose that the new apartments would be occupied only by Jews. "Arabs will not buy because they don't want to live in these kinds of houses," he said. "They prefer a different kind." Olmert noted that some Jewish land would be confiscated for the project as well.

The use of legal powers to transform predominantly Arab sections of the city into Jewish ones would conform to a longstanding trend in Israeli administration of East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed shortly thereafter. The last large seizure, of 462 acres for the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa, took place in 1991.

Since then, the government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has agreed with the Palestine Liberation Organization to negotiate the "permanent status" of East Jerusalem in talks beginning no later than next year.

PLO leader Yasser Arafat angrily told reporters in the Gaza Strip today that a new round of confiscation would threaten the accord. Later Palestinian officials said they would seek relief from the U.N. Security Council.

"They are daily breaching what had been agreed upon, and this confiscation of land is one of these violations," Arafat said.

The proposed confiscations appeared to take some members of Rabin's governing coalition by surprise. Environment Minister Yossi Sarid and Communications Minister Shulamit Aloni, both of the left-wing Meretz party, criticized the plan and said they would seek to debate it in the cabinet. But Rabin ignored the controversy in public, and his spokesman refused to discuss its impact on the peace talks.

"There's no need for the cabinet or the prime minister to approve activities within the territory of the municipality of Jerusalem," said spokesman Oded Ben Ami.

According to government data compiled by the left-leaning advocacy group, Irshalem, Israel has confiscated one-third of all the private land in East Jerusalem -- 5,877 of 17,600 acres -- since 1967. More than 33,000 apartments have been built on the confiscated land, and they have been occupied without significant exception by Israeli Jews.

"Literally all of them have been Israeli neighborhoods," said attorney Danny Seidemann, who did much of Irshalem's research. "Not one dwelling unit has been built for Palestinians on the expropriated lands."

Olmert, Cohen and other government officials said they could not confirm Irshalem's claims but did not dispute them.

Expropriation notices in the government's official gazette in recent weeks, undisclosed to the broader public until today, refer to two main tracts of land. One of them, about 80 acres, abuts the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina. About 58 acres there belong to Arabs, the rest to Jews.

A crowded ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Ramot, immediately to the south, is expected to expand on the site with what Housing Ministry official Zamir estimated as 800 to 900 apartments.

Israeli officials, attempting to soften the seizures, noted that most of the land is vacant. Palestinians and Israeli civil rights organizations said the reason is that for years municipal zoning laws have forbidden construction by the Arab owners.

"It has been prohibited to build because there was no plan for Beit Hanina," said Mohammed Masri, head of the neighborhood association. "I think this is very hazardous, because some people of Beit Hanina who yesterday were rich, who have properties, today they have nothing."

Anyone dispossessed of land is entitled to compensation under Israeli law. But most Palestinians have historically refused compensation, primarily to avoid legitimizing the confiscations. Those who might wish to take the money, Seidemann said, fear being branded collaborators.

"In principle the people do not want the money," Masri said. "They want the land."

The second site planned for confiscation is in Beit Safafa, in the southern part of east Jerusalem. There, Israeli officials said, they will also build apartments for Jews and a new Jerusalem police headquarters.

Cohen stressed in an interview today that "everyone who thinks this {expropriation} is not good can come to the land authority and talk about it."