Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's former chief of staff Natan Eshel engaged in shuttle diplomacy between the prime minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak Wednesday in an effort to resolve a dispute between the two that could lead to early elections.

Eshel has good relations with Barak and was the architect of the short-lived national-unity government with Kadima that prevented a September election from being declared in May.

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The dispute broke out Tuesday morning when in a conversation with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz that was leaked to the press, Netanyahu criticized Barak for undermining him in meetings in the United States.