"I wasn't optimistic before and I'm not optimistic now," Noam Schalit, father of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Schalit, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday after he met with two French lawyers who are working to obtain Gilad's freedom. Negotiations for Gilad's release were being handled by the Israeli government, Schalit said. "We speak regularly with the lawyers, who work with the French government," he added, but it was not clear what the lawyers could do for the Franco-Israeli captive. Gilad Schalit has been held by Hamas in Gaza since June 2006. The two lawyers are in Israel to represent the Schalit family and to arrange meetings with Hamas officials, but their plans have been complicated since Wednesday by the escalation in rocket fire from Gaza and in IDF operations against Hamas personnel and positions in the Strip. One of the attorneys, Emmanuel Altit, said they did not know when they would be able to go to Gaza, saying it was dependent on Israeli approval. He also said he had received information from Hamas that Gilad Schalit was alive. Altit said he represented only the family, and not French authorities. AP contributed to this report.