With only the votes of soldiers, prison inmates, and hospital patients left uncounted, the results of Israel’s elections bring a dismal picture for the opposition into focus. Benny Gantz, former IDF Chief of Staff and perhaps the best hope Israeli centrists and liberals had of ousting Benjamin Netanyahu from power through an election, has come up short. The seemingly impressive 35 mandates Kachol Lavan garnered (as of this writing) is a result of the centripetal movement of votes from the center-left to the center: the Labor Party, which ran an admirable and feisty campaign, had its worst result in history. Meretz will cross the electoral threshold but with no gain in seats and perhaps even a loss of one mandate.

What happens now is unclear. Most Israeli experts I follow are predicting a completely right-wing coalition, ranging from Likud to the extremist Union of Right-Wing Parties. This would be the worst outcome for Israelis primarily concerned about the rule of law and the country’s democratic future: not only do the number of Knesset members who support annexation vastly outnumber those favoring separation (even fewer speak explicitly of the two-state solution), but there is a predictable deal on the table to trade a limited annexation for passage of a retroactive “French Law,” which would give Netanyahu full legal immunity for offenses committed while in office.

The only alternative to such a government is a unity government that includes Kachol Lavan – there is no chance Labor’s central committee will approve a coalition agreement with Likud, and the same obviously goes for Meretz. I believe this option will be the one President Reuven Rivlin will push in light of the results, but it’s difficult to see it all coming together if Netanyahu has access to an alternative that includes the French Law. Besides, Kachol Lavan’s most consistent principle was that a prime minister under indictment could not lead Israel. And even if Kachol Lavan joined a unity government, it’s unclear where they stand on a limited annexation of Ma’ale Adumim or Gush Etzion.

But perhaps worst of all, the strongest deterrent against annexation is effectively on the sidelines: Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to say if the United States would oppose unilateral annexation. This shouldn’t be a difficult policy question, but it is for the novices in charge of the administration’s Middle East peace policy. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee only just recently referred the nomination of Trump’s pick for Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, the competent and knowledgeable David Schenker, to the Senate floor. But even with an expert at the table, it’s clear enough that domestic politics will carry a disproportionate weight in Trump’s calculus: right-wing Evangelicals, as well as Trump’s modest base of support in the American Jewish community, will brook no opposition to annexation. Anyone looking toward Washington to serve as a bulwark against annexation is likely to be disappointed.

This puts diaspora Jews concerned about the Jewish state’s liberal democratic character in a gut-wrenching bind. There is no clear path forward to stopping annexation in the short and medium term through Israeli and American political institutions. Perhaps the European Union could provide Netanyahu the room to maneuver her needs to fend off annexationists (that is, if he still opposes annexation). And even if Netanyahu still sympathizes with the argument against formal annexation, his freedom may well be more important to him. In that case, it’s hard to see him putting that at risk by breaking the rather unambiguous promise he made last week to commence annexation.

Unless a center-right unity government emerges from the post-election smog (a highly unlikely eventuality), the chances of some sort of annexation on the West Bank are considerable, more so than ever before. The lingering questions are how far will Israel go and will the vision of two states for two peoples survive such a dramatic blow? These are not the questions we wanted to confront, but yesterday’s election results leave us with no choice.