Friends forever? Vice President Joe Biden opened talks with Israeli leaders on Tuesday by calling the United States’ bond to the country “unshakable.” Speaking with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Biden added, “There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel in terms of Israel’s security. None.” The meeting kicked off a four-month period of U.S.-mediated peace talks between Israel and Palestine after a 14-month silence between the sides. But Biden’s positive remarks were overshadowed by Israel’s plans to build 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem. The development was denounced by Palestine as “a dangerous decision that will torpedo the negotiations and sentence the American efforts to complete failure.” The American Embassy in Tel Aviv also distanced itself from the move. Biden will be in the Middle East for five days and will also meet with Palestinian and Jordanian leaders.