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Oliver stone

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Archerd: Stone to Israel -- leave the West Bank
Wed Jun 19,11:02 PM ET
By Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior Columnist

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - With yet another suicide bombing in Jerusalem Wednesday night -- the second in that city in two days -- I thought it was time to talk to Oliver Stone about his documentary on Yasser Arafat ( news - web sites).

He said he is editing the Canal Plus-financed film for TV with no outlet yet set in the U.S. He is also at work on his theatrical feature about Fidel Castro ( news - web sites), whom he also interviewed -- and says he has 30 hours of film with him. Stone was not able to interview Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ( news - web sites) after his interview with Arafat in his Ramallah compound -- because of the timing -- but says he has spoken to three former Israeli prime ministers.

Israel is concerned about Stone's documentary, says an article in the Jerusalem Post by Herb Keinon, which noted, "If (the) documentary on Yasser Arafat is as close to reality as were his movies on John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Israel has real reason for concern."

But Stone tells me, "I take no position on (Israel-Palestine). People think I'm pro one or the other."

Among his many interviews, he said, were those with suicide bombers, and he told me he "understands why they feel the way they do." But he also reminded, "I'm against violence in these matters. I'm against suicide bombers -- they kill innocent people."

He quickly added, "The (Jewish) settlements (on the West Bank) -- they are something else. The Israelis have no business in the West Bank. The settlements have to be gotten out of the West Bank."

He likened some of the arrivals in the West Bank to "vigilantes of the Old West in America."

"We need a third power (the U.N.?) to patrol the area, as was done in the '70s in the confrontations between the Turks and Greeks."

Stone did not put any credence into the (documented) reports that the Palestine Authority's choice of armed struggle is a strategic means of realizing the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

When I also told him of the education of Palestinian youths in an anti-Israel atmosphere and the glory of suicide bombing, he noted of the Arab-Israel tensions, "The memories are long as are the grudges and feuds."

While editing these two subjects (Arafat and Castro) Stone also is writing the script of another war between the East and the West, "Alexander the Great" for Intermedia. It's a project in which he has been immersed since the '80s, he reminded me. "It's now time to decide whether to do it -- and I feel like I'm ready."

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