Wednesday 12 October 2011 by Gary Stanton

Noel Edmonds to present Israeli-Hamas Prisoner Swap-Shop

Noel Edmonds is set to take a formal role in the Middle East peace process, by organising prisoner swaps live on air between Israel and Hamas.

Edmonds is known to be frustrated in his current role as Deal or No Deal presenter after Radio Times readers described the show as a ‘c**t in a bad shirt walking around some boxes’ and ‘numerically ambiguous’.

Observers believe that in its current format, his show can have little impact in breaking the deadlock in the Middle East.

Edmonds is already said to have played a preliminary role in negotiations to release Israeli prisoner Sgt Gilas Shalit, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirming a deal had been struck after he rang Noel early one Saturday morning while watching TV sat in his pyjamas.

The former Swap Shop presenter is thought to be a popular choice among the more hard-line Hamas members owing to the fact that he has a beard.

The role will allow him to showcase the skills he learned while acting as a go-between for bargain-hungry teenagers who refused point bank to back down. And unlike Tony Blair, he hasn’t killed anyone.

Prisoner Swap-Shop

The new negotiation format was briefly road-tested when a pilot show was broadcast, but a deal on prisoner releases broke down after a Hamas spokesman admitted to Noel live on air that he had phoned the show without checking first with the person who was paying the bill.

Hamas, meanwhile, have indicated that they may temper their demands for key holy sites in exchange for five hundred prisoners, two kilometres of border fence and a Star Wars digital watch.

But Israel has thus far refused to countenance a deal unless it includes a Rubik’s Cube and a 1982 Grange Hill annual.

In spite of numerous setbacks, conditions are said to be ripe for a deal.

The stability of landline connections is much improved, although callers from mobiles have been asked to ensure that their cellphones are not being used as detonators for high explosives which could upset any children watching the show.

Many on both sides, however, remain distrustful of the show and its host. An earlier prisoner swap, in which both sides promised to release two hundred prisoners, floundered when a Debbie Gibson album Israel had included as a gesture of goodwill was played by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal who discovered that it had several scratches.

A defiant Meshaal denounced tracks such as ‘False Dawn’ , ‘Power Vacuum’ and ‘Only in My Dreams’ as largely unplayable.

Meshaal, though, remains optimistic, but sounded an ominous warning that the window of opportunity should be seized before calls to the show become more expensive later in the evening and Keith Chegwin gets his knob out.

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