In direct defiance to a request by the United States, the Palestinian Authority has issued an official request to the United Nations for the UN to recognize a Palestinian state.
This puts Barack Obama in a pickle. He has tried to play both sides of the Arab/Palestinian - Israeli conflict since taking office. His sympathies lie naturally with the Muslim Palestinians, but Israel is a devoted ally and the Jewish vote is vital to the Democrat party. With the move by the PA, Obama has two choices: veto the PA's request in the UN Security Council, or do nothing and allow the vote, which is almost sure to pass (with the Arab world united against Israel.)
One small sticking point: The Palestinian Authority's charter calls for the destruction of Israel. In a meeting with Palestinian leaders, Mahmoud Abbas, head of the PA, made it clear. "They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state,"
Obama has been careful his whole political career to avoid making decisions that might have a negative effect on his career. He has been mocked for the number of "Present" votes he cast on controversial issues when he was a member of the Illinois legislature. He has played both sides of the budget debate. He really, really hates being nailed down.
So Obama is forced to make a decision, and that decision will redound throughout the world, and will have a major impact on the 2012 elections. Obama would give anything to let this decision simmer until 2013 (like all the extra taxes that will be forced on Americans because of Obamacare,) but he may not have that choice.