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The draconian measures of the Israeli government make anything approaching "a normal life" impossible for the 3.5 million Palestinians enduring them in the name of peace.

Medical health services are crippled; hospitals are run on skeleton staffs as doctors and nurses are not allowed to travel to work; medicines and infant immunization serums are notdelivered; and hundreds of chemotherapy and kidney dialysis patients face death as they are denied access to treatment inJerusalem.

Economic disaster impoverishes Palestinians because farmers can't access their fields. As a result, crops rot in the fields and this year's income vanishes.

Hunger appears and inflation steals what little is left of Palestinian resources. Overall, daily losses are estimated to approach $6 million.

Of course, closure punishes most cruelly the children -- half of all Palestinians -- who suffer increased malnutrition, childlabor, school closure and the ravages of untreated childhood diseases.

And now there is a "quiet deportation" of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, whereby the residency rights of hundreds of Palestinians are being revoked. Many Palestinians who resided outside the city for a time now find that they are no longer permitted to return to the city in which they were born, raised and consider home.

On the part of concerned Israeli citizens, there is a growing despair over the state of the nation and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

After Smadar Elchanan -- the "poster girl" for the peace movement -- was killed in a bombing attack in September, her mother, Nurit, stated clearly where the responsibility lies.

She said: "I really believe it is the fault of the Israeli government more than the terrorists. Israel is breeding terrorism by heaping these humiliations against the Palestinians. Bybehaving like conquerors, we've brought it upon ourselves."

But the U.S. government shares much of the blame with its uncritical and unconditional support of Israeli policies and its donation of billions of dollars.

Margaret J. Leyonmark Hamburg