A fair, or even a merely sentient, observer of Israeli politics will surely conclude that the country’s right-wing is ascendant as Benjamin Netanyahu approaches his tenth consecutive year in the Prime Minister’s residence on Balfour Street. Not only do all polls and surveys point to a decisive victory for the “national camp” in the next election, but the Zionist Left has been forced to argue on the right’s terms. Ending Israeli rule over the Palestinian people is no longer presented as a moral imperative or in the best interests of peace, but rather in the best interests of Israel’s security. The two leading opposition parties, the centrist Yesh Atid and traditionally center-left Labor Party, are intensely reluctant to be classified as leftist or even liberal.

This succinct analysis, familiar to most of Israel’s critics overseas, is nevertheless incomplete without taking note of the Zionist Right’s own shifting ideology and rhetoric, without which its political dominance would be in doubt. While a deep skepticism of Arab and Palestinians intentions has permeated secular right-wing thought in Israel since the establishment of the state, its contemporary leaders have abandoned the political liberalism of the movement’s founders, Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin, in favor of the populist reaction to liberal protections of minorities and dissidents.

Recent years have seen the mainstream right embrace various proposals that curtailed the rights of Israelis critical of the government’s policies, from the NGO Law to the recently reintroduced “loyalty in culture” bill. Additionally, right-wing parties have targeted the High Court as a usurper of the people’s will. Moti Yogev, a member of parliament for the Jewish Home party, went as far as to suggest the court should be “bulldozed.” While some Israeli politicians on the right take a more pragmatic and gradualist approach to disarming the court’s relatively liberal tendencies, there is general agreement that unelected judges have tilted the scales too heavily in favor of civil liberties and human rights over “national rights.”  Similar claims have been made in Poland, where the ruling far-right Law and Justice Party recently purged one-third of the Supreme Court’s justices.

Jabotinsky, who promoted an egalitarian conception of citizenship in which “whether one is a Jew, an Arab, an Armenian, or a German matters not at all to the law,” would not have a home in today’s Likud, despite his strong commitment to a “Greater Israel” that would have encompassed every inch of the West Bank and Gaza. This is partly due to the right no longer seeking full control of all the territories; twenty-five years after the Oslo Accords created the Palestinian Authority, there is little appetite to send teenage Israelis to perform daily police duties in Ramallah, Jericho, and Nablus, let alone include those cities’ residents in the Israeli polity. Even Naftali Bennett, the leader of Jewish Home, the party historically associated with national-religious settlers, does not want Israel to assume control of areas presently governed by the PA.

It is this confounding ideological universe that Micah Goodman, an American-Israeli philosopher and senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, tries to make sense of in his book Catch-67 (2017), a graceful English translation of which was published last month by Yale University Press. The book, which was translated into English by the writer and commentator Eylon Aslan-Levy, was mostly criticized by the center-left (particularly by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak) for creating a “symmetry” between the calamities predicted by the right and left. I agree that Goodman is too eager to accept the claims of the right at face value. Nevertheless, Catch-67 is a useful and erudite roadmap for locating the Israeli center’s position on the two-state solution.

Goodman’s seemingly droll thesis is that both supporters and opponents of Israel’s occupation are correct, and hence they are both mistaken. The occupation is not a problem in search of a solution or an injustice in need of a correction, but a “catch” that must be “escaped.” In Goodman’s view, Israel can’t simply withdraw from the occupied territories because it would put the country in existential danger; likewise, Israel cannot remain in the territories without risking its Jewish majority, an existential threat to a democratic vision of Zionism.

To bolster his argument, Goodman provides a pithy account of the evolution of Zionism and Israeli political thought, and asserts that both right-wing and left-wing ideals have failed in the face of Middle Eastern realities. For the right, the First Intifada shattered Jabotinsky’s dream of a united Greater Israel in which Jews and Arabs would live in a single Jewish state in the whole Land of Israel; for the left, it was the more violent Second Intifada, which followed on the heels of the unsuccessful negotiation efforts at Camp David, that discredited its vision of a “New Middle East” with Israeli-Palestinian peace at its center.

Goodman does not believe a solution to the conflict is at hand, a result of what he sees as the indomitable forces of Jewish unwillingness to trust others for their security and Palestinian unwillingness to cede claims from 1948. If the book has one severe weak point, it’s Goodman’s digressive comparison between Halakha, which he believes is compatible with surrendering Jewish land for peace, and Islamic law, which he believes prohibits ceding Muslim land to non-Muslims in almost all cases. The analysis, which disregards the not-insignificant legacy of secular Palestinian politics, is an invasive eyesore in what is an otherwise concise and intelligent book.

In response to President Trump’s abrupt endorsement of the two-state solution this week, Netanyahu reiterated his support for what he’s called a “state-minus” for the Palestinians, in which Israel controls security “west of Jordan.” While it is inconceivable the Palestinians will agree to a “state” in which a foreign army or police office has jurisdiction or freedom of movement, it is also inconceivable that Israel will not seek more than just Palestinian assurances to prevent its territory from becoming a launching pad for attacks Israel.

Goodman elucidates two proposals to escape the Catch-67. In his first plan, which most resembles the two-state solution and the one I will discuss here, Goodman suggests an updated version of what then Defense Minister Yigal Allon proposed after the Six Day War, where Israel would “relinquish the populated areas [of the West Bank] while retaining control of the areas it needs for its own defense,” but especially the Jordan Valley. “Under the Allon Plan,” Goodman writes, “Israel would no longer extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, but its security border would remain the Jordan River.” Goodman stresses that this is achievable because it would not require the Palestinians to end all claims. It would represent a long-term ceasefire in exchange for “a sovereign state with territorial contiguity.”

In other words, Goodman’s escape plan involves breaking a powerful spell: separating the future of the territories from the future of the conflict, a significant divergence from peace process precedent. If there is a radical idea that could dethrone Netanyahu’s sacred and worsening status quo, this is it. While Goodman maintains a centrist posture, the constituency on the right for such pragmatic thinking has strongly diminished since the domestic trauma of the Gaza disengagement. He’s written a compelling blueprint for the center-left to actively seek a way out for Israel, and Avi Gabbay, Tzipi Livni, and Yair Lapid would do well to draw inspiration from it.