Israeli Soldier's Father Urges 'Restraint'

Noam Shalit, the father of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, says he has not heard any news of his son's condition. While he says he supports the Israeli government's refusal to negotiate with militants for the release of prisoners in exchange for his son, Shalit hopes Israel will exercise restraint.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Joining us now is Noam Shalit. He's the father of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured more than a week ago by Palestinian militants. Noam Shalit has asked publicly for the humane treatment of his son and he backed the Israeli government's refusal to give in to the so-called blackmail of those holding his son. Mr. Shalit, thank you so much for joining us.

Mr. NOAM SHALIT (Father of Gilad Shalit): You're welcome.

NORRIS: What have you heard, if anything, about the condition of your son?

Mr. SHALIT: Well, so far we haven't got any life sign or any evidence about his health from the militants who keep him.

NORRIS: So no word at all.

Mr. SHALIT: No, not yet.

NORRIS: Mr. Shalit, the mother of the Israeli soldier who was captured by Hamas in 1994 and who died in the attempt to rescue him has spoken out publicly and she says that the Israeli government should try to negotiate further. What do you think about that? Should the government try further negotiations and scale back the military action?

Mr. SHALIT: Well, eventually I believe that the Israeli government will have to talk with somebody. I know for sure that the Israeli government is talking now with Egyptians. The Egyptians are now the main channel to resolve this crisis.

NORRIS: Mr. Shalit, could you tell me a little bit about your son, Corporal Shalit? What kind of soldier is he?

Mr. SHALIT: Well, actually he was less than a year in the army. He was a good soldier and he liked the service. There is nothing much to tell about him. He's a regular boy. He's bright. He's a shy boy. But hopefully, I know he's strong and he will be able to survive this tough period.

NORRIS: Mr. Shalit, what has this last week been like for you and your family?

Mr. SHALIT: Like a bad dream. Like a bad movie.

NORRIS: Have you heard directly from the Prime Minister?

Mr. SHALIT: From Israel's Prime Minister? Yes. He talked with us several times.

NORRIS: If he is soliciting your advice, what do you think is the best way to bring your son home?

Mr. SHALIT: Well, I'm not in a position to give advice to the government. I believe they're weighing all the measures possible. They act with care and with restraint. I have the impression that they will do all they can do to bring Gilad back.

NORRIS: Well, Mr. Shalit, all the best to you. Thank you so much for speaking with us.

Mr. SHALIT: You're most welcome.

NORRIS: That was Noam Shalit. He's the father of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who's being held by militants in Gaza.

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