Former US president Jimmy Carter spoke at the Herzliya conference, an annual gathering of influential Israeli and international leaders, on Monday. His speech focused on what he sees as the biggest obstacles to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Among the obstacles named were the PA's lack of control over violent Palestinian elements; West Bank settlements; and the necessity for the Arab world to universally accept Israel's legitimacy. Carter first visited Israel in 1972 after the Yom Kippur war, and is currently in the region to observe Palestinian elections. After speaking at the Herzliya conference, he left to meet with Palestinian leaders, including PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Carter expressed hope that the upcoming elections would be peaceful and prove the Palestinian commitment to democracy, but added that Hamas presented a serious threat to that possibility. The former president was hopeful about prospects for peace in the region. "Over time, I have seen despair and frustration evolve into progress," he said.