Former US President Jimmy Carter says a freeze on Israeli settlements is "absolutely necessary" to achieving peace in the Middle East.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Carter, who is currently visiting Israel as a member of the group known as the 'Elders', spoke about his views on the prospects for Middle East peace.
His comments come as Barack Obama, the US president, attempts to seal an Arab-Israeli peace deal that has eluded the region for more than six decades.
His administration has already made it clear it opposes the ongoing building of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land occupied since 1967.
Hundreds of thousands of homes have been constructed by Israel despite international condemnation and in contravention of international law.