The coalition agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz, reached last month during the peak of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, was met with justifiable anxiety by supporters of the two-state solution. According to the agreement, the government can begin considering proposals for annexation on July 1 of this year. In the Knesset, there is now a clear majority in favor of the “partial annexation” outlined in the Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan released in January.

At this point, it would be reckless to assume opponents of annexation in the government and in the security establishment maintain the upper hand, as they have in previous years. We may all hope, as Senator Chris Coons of Delaware does, that Gantz and his last remaining political partner and fellow former army chief, Gabi Ashkenazi, are able to somehow halt this disastrous march. However, the Kachol Lavan leaders’ previous support for annexing the Jordan Valley and the large settlement blocs – albeit with certain conditions – does not point to any instinctive opposition to partial annexation. They remain opposed to something they call “unilateral annexation,” but it’s unclear whether annexation in coordination with the Trump administration would still be considered “unilateral.”

Where does this leave supporters of the two-state model, which is still the overwhelming preference of the international community as well as Washington policymakers, experts, and not to mention a consistent plurality of Israelis and Palestinians? If Joe Biden is the next American president, what should he do?

Those close to the current administration will doubtless remain in denial and insist that the Trump plan is consonant with the two-state solution, despite universal opposition from Palestinians and – against the expectations of Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt – little support from the Arab world. Partial annexation fits into the puzzle of the Trump plan, which allows for American recognition of Israeli settlements before a final status agreement is reached. We can expect this bald-faced denial to be the policy of the Trump administration should the president be re-elected.

But in the event of a Biden victory, policymakers who favor the traditional two-state solution, which envisions a Palestinian state in roughly 22 percent of the total land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, will be forced to think carefully about how they would respond to Israeli annexation and subsequent American recognition of such a move. A range of possibilities exist, of which I will outline three that I think are broadly possible: two that are on the “extreme” ends of the spectrum of acceptability, and an alternative “softer” option that a prospective President Biden, a longtime ally of Israel, might be more comfortable with.

On one extreme end, the new administration could choose to “accept reality” and abandon any pretense for an ultimate two-state resolution. This does not mean the U.S. will pursue a different solution in its stead; it could also withdraw from its role as mediator while maintaining its alliance with Israel. There is no sizable constituency for this in the Democratic Party right now, but that could easily change if the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic sharply reorients American foreign policy away from the Middle East.

On the other end, the U.S. under a Biden administration could seek to reverse any recognition granted to Israel’s moves in the territories. This would be a decidedly punitive measure, which would be met with intense opposition in Israel and in many traditional pro-Israel circles in the U.S. In a recent essay for Foreign Policy, Philip Gordon and Robert Malley propose that Biden do just that, while also ensuring no American aid to Israel is used to support settlement growth or defend annexation in international institutions. There is precedent for such a strong American response to unilateral Israeli moves. When Menachem Begin’s government “extended Israeli law” to the Golan Heights in 1981, the Reagan administration responded by suspending a much-valued strategic partnership agreement with Israel and voting against Israel in the UN Security Council.

However, the years following the Golan blowup provide for another possibility, should Israel embrace it: the U.S. and Israel could work together to mitigate the political ramifications of annexation and protect the two-state solution by underlining previous Israeli distinctions between “annexing” and “applying law, jurisdiction, and administration” to occupied territory. The application of sovereignty to the Golan did not preclude negotiations with Damascus where Israel weighed transferring to Syria about 99 percent of the territory over which its law had been extended. In the current context, Israel would “apply sovereignty” over large chunks of the West Bank while also explicitly allowing for the possibility of future withdrawal.

As David Makovsky notes, this balance was maintained with the Golan because Israel insisted from the start that it was still willing to withdraw from those territories in the event of a peace agreement. Of course, unlike what we expect with the Trump administration, Reagan did not recognize the unilateral Israeli moves. But if Biden is unwilling to formally rescind American recognition, he could at least replace Trump’s peace plan with a framework that is more in line with a feasible two-state solution. This way, previous American recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank will be shown to be reversible in the future. However, if Israel rejects an American framework outright because it violates Israeli sovereignty, the distinction between permanent and non-permanent extensions of sovereignty will be completely undermined. The U.S. alone can’t keep the two-state solution alive.

I am in the Gordon-Malley camp in desiring to see an unequivocal rejection of annexation from the U.S. under a Biden administration. I don’t believe a democratic vision of Zionism, the only one I’m willing to countenance, is reconcilable with large-scale annexation. For Joe Biden, though, despite all the personal feelings he may have for Israel, American national security interests will be foremost among his concerns. I struggle to articulate a national interest justification for essentially picking a fight with Israel over the diplomatic excesses of the previous American administration. There likely is none that is remotely convincing in the short to medium term, given regional apathy towards the Palestinians and the fact that any diplomatic fallout caused by annexation will have already occurred by the time Biden is inaugurated.

Nevertheless, there are ways a Biden administration could try to limit the ramifications of any Israeli move without resorting to measures that would sour the alliance, provided Israel is willing to help. Opponents of annexation, while remaining focused on thwarting such a move in the first place, should begin drawing up a variety of detailed and measured policy responses ahead of time so as not to fall into an unenviable binary, one from which the two-state solution may not emerge intact.