Contrary to Israeli housing minister Isaac Herzog’s assuraces, the Israeli Housing Ministry is continuing to work on expanding the West Bank settlement of Ma’alee Adumim towards Jerusalem.

The labor housing minister has said that building in the area, dubbed E-1, is not included in the ministry’s plan for 2005.

Herzog’s aides said Monday that the minister was surprised to learn that construction in the area was ongoing, and has summoned the ministry’s Jerusalem branch head to look into the affair.

In February, the subcommittee for settlements of the civil administration’s supervisory council submitted a detailed construction plan for the E-1 region.

The construction in this area has raised an international controversy, as it severs the south of the West Bank from the north.

Housing ministry architect Yoram Fogel, who is working on the construction of 3,500 housing units in the area between Jerusalem and Maalee Adumim, said last week that work on the plan is proceeding as usual, denying that any instructions to the contrary had come from the housing minister.