RIYADH — Ala Issa Khalaf, a woman Al-Yaum newspaper alleged was a Saudi who had obtained Israeli citizenship, denied that she was a Saudi national on Tuesday.
“I would like to dispel all rumors that were spread by some news websites about me and claimed that I am a Saudi citizen and that I obtained Israeli nationality. Some websites called me a traitor and a spy. I hereby certify I don’t have Saudi citizenship,” said Khalaf in an interview with Al-Yaum daily.
Khalaf, who was born in Jeddah in 1982 but holds Jordanian citizenship, said she is Palestinian. She said she used to have a residency permit (Iqama) in the Kingdom but had not renewed it.
Khalaf lives in Palestine with her husband and two children. She said she applied for Israeli citizenship so that she isn’t separated from her family. Thousands of Palestinians families are forced to live separately if members don’t hold Israeli citizenship.
“Israeli policies separate family members who didn’t have the Israeli nationality from those who do,” said Khalaf.
The Israeli Ministry of Interior issued Khalaf a temporary ID card that is valid for five years and then granted her permanent residency. This card allows her to work and have access to different services. “Having the Israeli nationality hasn’t changed my beliefs. I still love my country Palestine and I always will,” she said.
When asked whether she wants to visit the Kingdom, Khalaf said she misses her family and life in the Kingdom. However, she will perform Umrah next year and get a chance to see family members and friends.
Khalaf met her husband in 2000 at Petra University in Jordan. The couple got engaged in 2003 and married in 2005 in Palestine. She has two daughters and is expecting a third child in two months.
She works as a pharmacist at the medical institution in Al-Tayra town while her husband works for a children’s cancer hospital.
Khalaf said although the town has suffered greatly from Israeli attacks and atrocities, its people have refused to desert it. One is her husband’s grandfather who recently turned 100.
“He fought the British and Zionist gangs in the 1940s. He still remembers the details vividly and can narrate the events as if he was reading from a book,” she said. — SG