JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel is headed for a clash with main ally the United States over the issue of Jewish settlements, former US president Jimmy Carter said in an interview on Sunday. Asked by the liberal Haaretz newspaper whether the Jewish state was looking at a head-on collision with the United States if it doesnt comply with Washingtons demands, Carter said Yes. The former president said Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank were the biggest hurdle in the hobbled Middle East peace process, saying they were illegal and (an) obstacle to peace. The administration of US President Barack Obama has repeatedly called on Israel to halt all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, which is viewed as one of the key obstacles in the stalled Middle East peace process. Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter on Sunday made a rare visit to a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, which he said will be here for ever, despite Palestinian claims to the territory. Carter, a staunch opponent of the settlements, travelled to Neve Daniel in Gush Etzion, a large settlement bloc south of Jerusalem which Israel hopes to keep in any future Middle East peace deal. He said he came to make sure they (the settlers) understand my own attitude towards Israel, the Jewish population across the world and the Jewish settlements. Speaking at the end of a meeting with Shaul Goldstein, the head of the Gush Etzion regional council, Carter said that the settlement bloc would remain under Israeli control. This particular settlement area is not one that I can envision ever being abandoned or changed over into Palestinian territory. This is part of settlements close to the 1967 (border) line that I think will be here for ever, he said in the garden of Goldsteins house. Goldstein briefed Carter on joint Israeli-Palestinian projects in the region and on the history of the Jewish community in the Gush Etzion before the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. This is our homeland but we recognise that there are other people living next to us, Goldstein said. We believe in human rights and we suffer when they suffer, he added of the Palestinians. The Palestinians consider the presence of upwards of 280,000 Jewish settlers in more than 100 settlements across the West Bank to be one of the greatest obstacles in the Middle East peace process.