A headline in Wednesday’s Hebrew edition of Yisrael Hayom, Israel’s most widely circulated newspaper, trumpets: “the [Kachol Lavan party] platform is out of the bag.” The subheader follows: “Kachol Lavan tries every way to avoid the words ‘Palestinian state,’ but its leaders have expressed different positions in the past.”

The story is not in the headline. Yisrael Hayom spins things as if this were a groundbreaking exposé, but the article simply draws on past quotes from Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi that lean pro-two-state. This was always publicly available information (which Yisrael Hayom, by its own admission, largely lifted from a Peace Now campaign), and it is a fact that the overwhelming majority of the retired Israeli security establishment support the two-state solution. What is really significant here is how telling the article is about the transformation of peace and two states into an increasingly fringe political issue in Israel.

Yisrael Hayom is a highly partisan outlet (funded by American political donor Sheldon Adelson), but it is nonetheless significant that its editors felt a mainstream political party supporting two states was in some way scandalous. Sadly, it is an accurate reading of the longstanding political climate in Israel, in which “two states,” “peace,” and “left-wing” have become bad words.

There is reason for this cynicism. The Israeli left-right axis primarily revolves around one’s approach to territorial concessions to the Palestinians. In the Israeli public imagination, the left is inextricably tied to the peace process, and the peace process is associated with failure, the terrorism of the Second Intifada, and the rise in rocket attacks after the 2005 Gaza disengagement. The right has long sought to drive home this connection. Most recently, in a now-pulled ad, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party threw up images of terror attacks (which, incidentally, all occurred under Likud governments) while elaborating on the danger of a Gantz-led coalition. The Israeli right generally opposed the peace process from the outset and sought to sabotage negotiations with the Palestinians at multiple junctures. They share a significant part of the blame with the left, but it is nonetheless understandable why so many Israelis have become soured on compromise.

This broad perception has bled over into the ostensibly left-wing opposition. Labor leader Avi Gabbay, who started his political career with the center-right Kulanu party as a minister in Netanyahu’s last government, is emblematic of this trend. He accelerated the party’s drift away from its left-wing ideological roots, emphasizing his commitment to settlement blocs (already a consensus among most Israeli parties) while playing down his interest in the two-state solution. After Avi Gabbay unceremoniously dissolved the Zionist Union and dismissed Tzipi Livni, she was unable to forge an alliance with Benny Gantz or Yair Lapid because she was “too left” (she was raised in a right-wing household and entered politics as a Likudnik). Livni was the last person to win more seats than Netanyahu, but now she is persona non-grata among the prime minister’s main challengers. This, along with a healthy dose of racism, also motivates the mainstream center’s reticence to work with any Palestinian-Israeli parties at all, as “the Arabs” are a central feature in the boogeyman of “the left.”

Only two parties still lean in to the term “left:” Meretz, a social-democratic faction, and Hadash, the predominantly Palestinian-Israeli communist party. Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are likely to shun Hadash (and its electoral partners, Ta’al), while Meretz is a very small faction. In recent weeks, Labor has to some extent restored its vocal advocacy for two states. The party primaries elected a strong progressive slate including young leaders like Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli. Meanwhile, a series of campaign advertisements emphasize the importance of the two-state solution. Yet despite a strong showing in 2015, Labor has not been a serious contender to lead the government since Ehud Barak’s premiership ended in 2001.

Even when Israelis do speak positively about the two-state solution and ending the West Bank occupation, it is in language that may sound foreign to outsiders. “Separation” is the codeword du jour, encompassing both an actual two-state outcome and incremental steps to prevent Israel becoming further embedded in the occupied territories. Separation, not two states, made it into Kachol Lavan’s official platform: hence the Yisrael Hayom article seeking to expose the party’s “real” position.

There is nothing inherently wrong with speaking about two states in terms of national self-interest. After all, this may be the most compelling argument. Even pro-two-state Palestinians do this; you will be hard-pressed to find a Palestinian leader who foists up a map of Palestine based on the Green Line. But the lengths even opposition parties take to avoid talking about two states risk moving the issue off of Israel’s national agenda. By contrast, those who seek West Bank annexation are especially upfront about what they want.

None of these factors excuse the expansion of isolated settlements or the indignity Palestinians experience under military rule. But it is the reality in Israel, and it is a difficult reality to confront, especially for U.S. policymakers and American advocates of two states. In many ways, the discussion around the two-state solution in the United States is steeped in peace process language from the 1990s and early 2000s, before the Second Intifada and the succession of Gaza wars. Although a two-state solution was never going to be an easy or quick fix to a century-old conflict, obscuring it in the Israeli center-left’s platform signals a sense of exhaustion.

The saving grace here is that a slim majority of Israelis still support a two-state solution, and an even greater portion do not want the opposite: West Bank annexation and a single-state outcome. But the relative quiet of the Netanyahu years and the veneer of long-term stability he has created have ushered in a sense of complacency. It is notable that the most serious leaps in Arab-Israeli peacemaking have come after extreme national crises. The Camp David Accords and the Egypt-Israel treaty came after the Yom Kippur War, Oslo followed the First Intifada, and Israel withdrew from Gaza on the heels of the Second Intifada. Of course, this paradigm is problematic too because it suggests only severe bloodshed can inspire change.

There is potential in a charismatic leader with strong security credentials like Benny Gantz to muster the trust necessary to put Israel on the path toward two states. Yet Gantz has balked at such talk. True, Gantz must contend with a sitting prime minister who hurls “leftist” at him as if it were some kind of epithet, but if this campaign has been any indicator, Netanyahu will throw that label at any challenger, no matter their actual policy platform.

Meanwhile, without a strong impetus for a shift, an Israeli electorate that is largely pro-two-state (or at least anti-one-state) could still sleepwalk into annexation. A majority is not required to formally absorb all or part of the West Bank. All that is needed are annexationists in influential government posts capitalizing on an apathetic public. The legalization of far-flung settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes in Area C have already de facto entrenched Israel’s long-term presence in the West Bank. Without an impassioned base advocating partition, the next solidly right-wing government can pursue wholesale annexation with a great deal of freedom. And that impassioned base is unlikely to emerge when, to borrow Yisrael Hayom’s parlance, the main opposition party “tries every way to avoid” the two-state solution.