The Civil Administration has issued stop-work orders on 12 modular homes that it claims have been illegally placed at the edge of a street on a hilltop within the Kochav Ya'acov settlement. Rumors swirled on Wednesday that the Civil Administration had issued demolition orders on the homes, of which at least two are already inhabited by newly arrived French immigrants. The Civil Administration said it had not yet done so, but planned to pursue the matter of the illegal homes. Tensions were so high at the site that a construction-crew member asked this Jerusalem Post reporter if she was from the Civil Administration when she walked through the steel gate that set the site apart from the rest of the small cobblestone street, lined with stone homes. Workers were busy Wednesday creating a gravel path to the homes, while a yellow crane moved stones out of the way. One of the French family members asked the Post to leave the site, and the settlement secretary forbade the paper from photographing the homes. A Civil Administration spokesman said Peace Now had alerted it to the illegal nature of the homes. It examined the group's claims and found that no permits had been obtained for the homes and that they were on private Palestinian land. Kochav Ya'acov spokesman Eliyahu Pinchas said the settlement had begun the permitting process but had not yet completed it. Because the process is lengthy, it is standard practice to move forward with projects even before final approval has been obtained, he said. Pinchas denied claims that the side of the hilltop, which is within the built-up boundaries of the settlement, was on private Palestinian land. The area is state land and belongs to the settlement, he said. There is a great need for housing within the settlement, to satisfy both natural growth and the desire of those who want to move to the area, he explained. "There are many families with no place to live, and we are trying to accommodate them," he said. Located in the Binyamin region, 7.7 kilometers over the Green Line, Kochav Ya'acov was founded in 1985 and is now home to 5,900 residents.