Yesterday U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted that the United States would be “providing” $5 Million for Palestinians’ effort to combat COVID-19. While it is true that $5 million may seem like a lot to you and me, and $5 million is more than zero, the amount released today represents a mere 6 percent of Congressionally appropriated funds desperately needed for Palestinian humanitarian relief — hospitals, schools, food, and more.

To be clear: Congress, not the executive, appropriates aid. The executive branch disperses funds, and, in limited circumstances, can hold up dispersal of appropriated funds. In 2018 the Trump administration put a hold on aid to the Palestinians. In the FY2020 appropriations process, Congress, in a bipartisan manner, earmarked $75 million for Palestinian humanitarian assistance, a move designed to force the hand of the administration and supercede the hold. Before today, the administration had refused to disburse any funds.

The $75 million appropriated for humanitarian assistance was already a significant drop from what Palestinians have historically received from the U.S. What the administration released yesterday pales in comparison to that total, while being touted as an achievement.

This is all occurring against the backdrop of COVID-19 and its impact on the region.

While there have been stories of increased Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in combatting the virus, we have also seen Israel closing down a testing site in East Jerusalem because it was operated by the Palestinian Authority

Coronavirus has exposed the Palestinians’ desperate need for humanitarian assistance and the significant deleterious and dangerous effect withholding such aid has not just on the West Bank and Gaza, but on Israel as well. Indeed, such impact is not limited to this global health pandemic and world economic crisis.

The U.S. cannot extend one hand in friendship and support to Israel, while with the other closing its fist and demonizing the Palestinians. We are seeing the results in real time: Hospitals in the Palestinian Territories, which historically have enjoyed American support, are now struggling to confront the pandemic.

The U.S. must understand that the critical safety and security of Israelis is fundamentally tied to the ability of Palestinians to live in dignity and ultimately achieve a sovereign and contiguous state. But for the time being, without separation between Israel and the Palestinians via a two-state solution, Israelis and Palestinians will continue to be especially closely intertwined. Even with public health restrictions, a severe outbreak in the Palestinian Territories will still prove disastrous for Israel, and vice versa.

Any U.S. administration committed to the welfare of Israelis and Palestinians must immediately release the remaining $70 million humanitarian aid that Congress appropriated. Given the close proximity at which Israelis and Palestinians live, such a move is also critical for Israel’s security.