Speaking in Sochi and appealing to the "world Jewish community" and to Israel, the president of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity blamed Georgian troops for destroying the Jewish cultural center in Tkhinvali, the separatist region's capital. He also claimed that a "genocide" had been committed by the Georgians in South Ossetia (Ha'aretz Hebrew).
The Russians, South Ossetians, and Abkhazians appear determined to perpetuate the allegations that the Georgians engaged in deliberate killings of non-Georgian civilians. Of course, Russia has given almost no access to independent organizations for the verification of these claims, and the main victims of ethnic cleansing are the thousands of Georgians who used to live in South Ossetian villages.
Notwithstanding the idle rhetoric of the West, the integration of South Ossetia and Abkhazia into the Russian Federation is quickly advancing. It now looks very unlikely that these territories will be restored to Georgian sovereignty any time soon. The president of Abkhazia, Sergey Bagapsh, is imagining a similar status under Russian auspices for his country as the one enjoyed by Taiwan under U.S. protection.
Israel, in the meantime, appears determined not to antagonize the Russians and is directing Israeli military contractors to freeze business in Georgia. Russia's message has reached Jerusalem loud and clear. Israel will not risk retaliatory Russian arm sales to Syria, Iran, and others. Meanwhile, the precise nature of Russian-Israeli relations since the Georgian crisis awaits further elucidation.