A British advertising watchdog banned an Israeli tourism poster that implied the West Bank and Gaza Strip territories were undisputed parts of the country.

The posters, featuring a boy snorkelling with dolphins, were placed on London's Underground train stations, as part of an Israeli tourism campaign.

They carried the slogan "few countries pack so much variety into such a small space as Israel" and a contested map that sparked more than 400 complaints from pro-Palestinian groups and members of the public.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaints, saying the map implied that the two territories were an undisputed part of Israel.

"We understood that the borders and status of the occupied territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Golan Heights were the subject of much international dispute," the ASA said in a statement on Wednesday.

"And because we considered that the ad implied that those territories were part of the State of Israel, we concluded that the ad was misleading."

Israel's ministry of tourism said the map was "not meant to carry any political messages," the ASA said.

The ministry also pointed out that the aim of the map was to show "areas that could be practically reached and visited when travelling there."

But the ASA said border lines for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were faint and "difficult to distinguish on the map."

The Israelis and Palestinians revived peace negotiations at an international conference in November 2007, but the talks were put on ice after Israel launched its war on Gaza in December.

The Palestinians have said they will not return to the negotiating table unless Israel freezes all settlement activity in occupied territories, one of the main obstacles in the peace process.